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Gene Sperling Talks Jobs: Good, But Not Good Enough

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After Thursday's market slide, Wall Street was tense ahead of the July jobs report.

But when the numbers came in better than expected and the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1% from 9.2%, there was a sense of relief and initially a rally. But this wasn't going to be a steady rebound. The early jump in stocks turned negative at mid-morning, and turned into a steep selloff -- before another rebound sent stocks higher again. (See: Jobs Report Should Allay Concerns Over Double-Dip Recession — For Now)

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, joined The Daily Ticker's Daniel Gross to make sense of the employment figure for July in terms of the markets and the shaky economy. "I think it was obviously important for confidence in this recovery to have a jobs number that came in above expectations," Sperling says. "[But] this is still not as strong as we'd like to see."

Good, but not good enough, was the big takeaway from the interview with Sperling, who assists President Obama on all economic policy. As is the case with jobs, the White House believes more can be done to drive economic growth.

For the first half of the year, gross domestic product, which describes the nation's economic activity, has been less than stellar -- and actually grim after the Commerce Department revised first-quarter growth down last week. (See: 2011 Is Proving to Be a Horrible Year For the Economy)

So what's the White House's plan to speed up the recovery?

If Congressional reluctance to additional stimulus (spending) programs weren't an issue, you could certainly bet another round would be on the way: The Recovery Act Part II. But the reality is that there are huge constraints with this Congress when it comes to adding any more line items to the U.S. budget. (See: THE DEBT DEAL: Crisis Over, But More Pain to Come).

Since there's no political appetite for additional stimulus, the White House plans to focus on three specific short-term job creation initiatives that can help give the recovery momentum and that can likely pass both the House and Senate. Namely, "extending the payroll tax cut, an infrastructure bank proposal and extending the unemployment insurance program for those people who are still pounding the pavement looking for jobs," says Sperling.

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