Summers: Economy on path to growth: FT

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is on the path to achieving self-sustaining growth, although the jobs outlook remains uncertain, White House economic adviser Larry Summers said in a newspaper interview to be published on Saturday.

“I think the economy appears to be moving toward escape velocity,” Summers said in an interview with the Financial Times. “You hear a lot less talk of W-shaped recoveries and double-dips than you did six months ago.”

Summers, a former Treasury secretary who advises President Barack Obama, said the economic recovery appeared to have “started earlier and more vigorously” than in previous downturns.

Obama’s action on healthcare, energy and education should help to restore confidence and stimulate the economy in the months ahead, Summers added.

However, he warned that it was still unclear whether companies would start taking on more workers or whether more action is needed to fuel the recovery.

“Whether firms will start hiring more as it becomes less tenable to do more with less and you will see some extra pick-up in employment beyond what is justified in output, or whether we are just going to have to grow the economy harder to put people back to work is not certain,” he said.

“What I think is certain is that we walked back from the brink of depression and that there is a great deal under way that should result in increased job creation.”

Summers gave the interview before the release on Friday of data showing U.S. employers created jobs in March at the fastest rate in three years.

Obama said it was the best news on the jobs front in two years. About eight million Americans have lost their jobs since the start of the recession.

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton