The White House reaction to news that the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7% in February — down from January’s 7.9% — included a warning that the positive change happened before the planned spending cuts known as “sequestration” hit on March 1.
Alan Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, emphasized that the unemployment figure preceded the 3% dip in government spending:
It is important to bear in mind that the reference period for today’s surveys was the week of February 10-16 for the household survey and the pay period containing February 12th for the establishment survey, both of which were before sequestration began. The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances tax loophole closing, entitlement reform, and sensible spending cuts, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
President Obama insisted before the across-the-board cuts that their impact would cause “severe harm.”