Unemployment unlikely to dip until spring, says expert

Experts are undecided whether or not employment must make a recovery before the recession is over Economic experts are predicting that, even as the economy recovers as the year comes to an end, significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely not come until at least the spring

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers said those hoping for a significant decline in the unemployment rate to help their debt management practices would not see anything substantial until the second quarter of 2009.

"Most professional forecasters expect job growth by spring and I think that’s a reasonable judgment in an uncertain world," he said.

The slow recovery, he added, would occur despite the goal of lowering the unemployment rate being one of the Administration’s top priorities through the stimulus package.

"The number of projects under the program… is going to be about twice as great over the next six months as it was over the last six months," he added.

After hitting 10.2 percent – its highest point since March 1983 – in October, the unemployment rate declined slightly in November, dropping 0.02 percentage points to hit 10 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

Speaking to ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Summers offered somewhat more positive news, stating that "everyone agrees the recession is over" after seeing Novembers figures. However, White House Economic Advisor Christina Romer disagreed, telling NBC’s Meet the Press she would not declare the recession over until the unemployment rate was closer to 5 percent.