WASHINGTON The Obama administration's fiscal stimulus plan will meet previous estimates to save 3.5 million U.S. jobs by the end of 2010, but the unemployment rate at that time may be higher due to further deterioration in the economy, a senior administration official said on Monday.
The official said the administration was monitoring closely the results of the $787 billion spending and tax-cut package to determine whether additional actions are needed as "mid-term" economic forecasts are prepared by the White House.
"At this point we think that we've taken the right steps and (the plan) is going to do what it needs to do for the American people, but the president always said we'll do what it takes. So we will very much be watching," said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the stimulus program.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers on Monday released a report showing the plan would save or create 1.5 million jobs by the end of 2009 and 3.5 million by the end of 2010.
While that is unchanged from a report made in January, the official said conditions have deteriorated since then.
"In 2010 quarter four, wherever we were going to be, we felt that we were going to be 3.5 million jobs bigger than that because of the stimulus package," the official said.
Because of the lower baseline, the unemployment rate at the end of 2010 will be higher than previously anticipated, the official added.
On Friday, the Labor Department said U.S. employers shed 539,000 jobs in April, pushing up the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, the highest since September 1983.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish)