This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 11, 2004, that was edited for clarity.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If the economy is improving, why do so many Americans say it is not? With us now, the Commerce secretary of the United States, Don Evans, here to say the nay-sayers, no doubt, are wrong.
Secretary, good to have you.
DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Thank you. Thank you, Neil. Great to be with you.
CAVUTO: It is interesting, Secretary. I do remember covering in 1992 the economy at the time the president’s father was running for reelection, and it was, while not necessarily firing on all cylinders, clearing coming back. Yet, Americans were looking in the rearview mirror. Do you think many of them are doing the same this go-around?
EVANS: Well, maybe somewhat, Neil. Of course, we’re in a political season, there’s lots of nay-sayers out there talking down the economy. But this recovery has been well under way now for several years.
And as you know, I have been saying for quite some time the long-term fundamentals are very, very sound. And we thought over time that job creation will begin to pick up. And, indeed, that is what has happened in the last couple months.
And so I think we’ve just had a couple of good, solid months now of job growth, while we’ve had eight straight months of job growth of almost 1.1 million jobs. It’s been in the last couple months we are starting to see the kind of job creation numbers that we have been anticipating. And I think we’ll see the similar kind of numbers, maybe somewhat lower, in the months ahead. And the American people will feel more of it.
CAVUTO: I’m sorry, Secretary, but the job growth that we would have to see, what are you looking for? Economists are saying about 150,000 a month on average through the election. Are you on tap with that?
EVANS: Well, I think that is a reasonable range, Neil, a reasonable place to be. I think we also need to remember that we have a record number of American people working in this country today, 138 million Americans are working today. That is an all-time record high. But I would expect to see that level of job creation in the months ahead.
CAVUTO: Which some people are fearing the Fed hikes interest rates to calm this down. Do you worry about that?
EVANS: No, I don’t. Listen, you have to remember that interest rates are at 40, 45-year lows. I mean, I’m going to let the Fed decide what they do with interest rates. But just keep in mind that we are in an interest rate zone now, level right now that is very, very low by historical standards, and it would seem they would have room, if they want to use it.
CAVUTO: Real quickly, if it got a point higher, we could still live with that?
EVANS: Well, again, I don’t want to go speculating. My crystal ball is not any clearer than anybody else’s, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. Neither are mine. All right. Secretary Don Evans, always a pleasure.
EVANS: Thank you. Nice to see you.
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