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Excerpts from the Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, March 25, 2004 (Full Transcript)QUESTION: Scott, Secretary Snow today, speaking to the House Financial Committee, said that the President -- he believes the President would sign any extension on unemployment benefits. Is that something new?
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't seen his comments. Obviously, the President's focus, first and foremost, is on creating as robust an environment as possible for job creation. And we are in a changing economy. In fact, the President will be talking about that today. And it's important that we make sure that workers in this changing economy have the skills they need to fill the high-paying jobs being created in the 21st century. And so that's where our focus is, first and foremost. We've always said that we would work with Congress on the issue of unemployment benefits.
QUESTION: What about the fact that all the reports that are coming in show almost no job growth? How do you explain that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree with that. In fact, we've had six straight months of new jobs being created. The unemployment rate at 5.6 percent is below the average of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Productivity is high; disposable income is up. The economy is strong and growing stronger. It's moving in the right direction. There's more that we need to do, and the President talks about that all the time. He's got a six-point plan, but it's also important to keep in mind that we are in a changing economy and there are a lot of high-growth sectors in the changing economy, and we need to make sure workers have the kind of training and skills they need to fill those jobs. And that's one of the things he'll be talking about today.
QUESTION: There was a 4.4 percent GDP figure that came out this morning. Do you have any reaction to that?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- 4.1? Well, no, that's another sign that the economy is strong and growing stronger. We're seeing sustained economic growth. Obviously, there are people that are still looking for work that cannot find work, and we need to continue to act to make sure that we're creating as robust an environment for job creation as possible.
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