UPDATE 1-U.S. economy fragile but fundamentals strong-Locke

Mon Jun 7, 2010 4:37pm EDT

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(Adds quotes from interview)

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Monday he was optimistic about the long-term health of the U.S. economy despite concerns raised by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

"Well it's obviously a fragile economy and we're really feeling the effects of what's happening in Europe as well as some of the concerns on Asia, but the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong," Locke said in an interview on CNBC.

"We're seeing consumer confidence up, manufacturing orders up, production up, hours up. Even the employment figures have been up for the last five months in a row," Locke said.

Locke conceded that private sector job growth in the May U.S. employment report was not "as much as we would like."

But U.S. economic growth for 2010 will be in "positive territory, perhaps around 3 percent growth, compared to ... 2008 when it was negative 6 percent growth," Locke said. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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