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Obama touts GDP growth

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
President Obama said the 3.2% rise in the Gross Domestic Product over the first three months of 2010 was evidence that his administration's efforts to shore up the economy are working, but he said that much work was left to do with millions of Americans still unemployed.
"Our economy is stronger; that economic heartbeat is growing stronger. But I measure that progress by a different pulse," he said, adding that he was focusing on Americans "still trying to recover from the shockwave of lost homes, lost businesses and more than 8 million lost jobs. It's a tragedy that has families across America too often feeling like they're on life support," he said.

Today's GDP increase is the third-consecutive quarterly gain, driven by a 3.6% spike in consumer spending, the biggest since the 2007 recession. The rise in GDP, however, is not as large as last quarter's increase of 5.6%, when businesses began to restock inventories and the government's efforts to stimulate the economy took effect.

The president used the GDP announcement to tout business developments that he called evidence of his administration's efforts to spur job growth.

"Our task is to create the conditions necessary for businesses to open their doors and expand their operations and, ultimately, hire more workers. "That's precisely what we've tried to do by cutting taxes for small businesses, by backing thousands of loans supporting billions of dollars in lending, by making targeted investments in areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is raised, areas like clean energy."

The White House Council of Economic Advisors also said today's report was an indication of that the economy is digging out of the recession, but it also acknowledged that some areas of "notable weakness" still exist.

In a blog post, White House economic adviser Christina Romer pointed to declines in housing and non-residential investment, as well as a 3.8% drop in state and local government spending -- the largest since 1981.

"Given the severity and depth of the recession, it will take a number of quarters of robust growth and strong employment gains to return the economy to full health and full employment," she said in the post.