WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary John Snow (search) said Sunday he expects continued strong economic growth and "lots and lots of good jobs" created in the coming months.
At the same time, however, he said world affairs have so dominated the public's attention that the strong growth is not reflected in polls about President Bush's stewardship of the economy.
"There's been so much attention to other things, particularly the war in Iraq, that it's deflected attention from the economy," Snow said. "But the news on the economy ... is so good and so pervasive, so far-reaching, that I think people will change their views here."
The nine-month period that ended April 30 showed an annual growth of 5.5 percent in the gross domestic product (search), which measures the value of all goods and services produced in the United States. That was the strongest three-quarter growth in 20 years, Snow said during a televised interview.
"I think we're going to see more of the same continuing strong GDP growth and continuing strong job growth," Snow said.
Quoting private estimates, which he said look reasonable, Snow said the economy should create 200,000 to 300,000 jobs a month. Again using private forecasts "that are in line with our own internal assumptions," he set probable GDP growth in the next few months at 4 percent to 5 percent rates.
"It looks like we'll have growth for the coming quarters of over 4 percent, which of course, is terrific," he said. "It's well over the long-term average of the economy, and it's a growth rate that assures us that we'll see lots of good jobs created."
The economy has created 1.2 million jobs this year. Still, 1.2 million more Americans are unemployed than when President Bush took office 3 1/2 years ago.
"As I travel the country, I'm really impressed by, as I meet with small business and medium-sized businesses and larger businesses, by the fact that the business community is so optimistic," Snow said. "They're expanding, they're putting capital into their businesses, they're growing and they're hiring. And that's really all over the country."
Snow did not answer directly a question whether Americans should be worried about the practice of employers who eliminate jobs in the United States for cheaper labor abroad.
That practice, often called outsourcing, has become a major issue in campaigns for the White House and for Congress.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (search) announced last week an "American Jobs Plan" the Democrats have created as a package the party's candidates can use in campaigning.
"The real issue there, of course, is can we generate good jobs in the United States? Will we be able to make sure that people who are looking for work can find work? And the answer to that is "absolutely yes," Snow said.
"As long as the spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship is strong, and our education system is strong — and we need to work on that — we don't need to fear. We'll create lots and lots of good jobs."