White House heralds economic gains of 2014

The White House on Tuesday said its policies have paid off with the US growing faster than other advanced economies, but added that many Americans still struggle with low wages.

In a summary of progress in 2014, Jason Furman, chairman of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said the rebound from the 2008-2009 Great Recession gained pace this year and passed several key milestones.

"American businesses set a new record for the most consecutive months of job growth: now 57 straight months and counting," he said in an official blog post.

"By November, the economy had already added more jobs than in any full calendar year since the 1990s."

Furman said that a large part of the new jobs have been in higher-paying industries and are mostly full-time, rather than part-time, positions.

However, he noted, "Despite this progress, it is still too hard for many families to get ahead."

"Further reductions in long-term unemployment and faster wage growth are still needed, but the data from 2014 show that trends are clearly moving in the right direction."

The Obama administration's sunny self-assessed report card that accompanied Furman's blog post credited the president's policies since he took office in January 2009 in the depths of economic crisis.

It noted the fall in the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent this year, down 1.2 percentage points from a year ago, was faster than almost anyone had projected.

That came on the back of an average 241,000 jobs created per month since the year began, and a surprising 321,000 in November alone.

It also cited the slashing of the US budget deficit by two-thirds to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product, below the 40-year average.

"The United States has come further in its recovery than most other advanced economies around the world, in part because of the president's aggressive policy response," Furman said.

"To build on this progress, the president will continue to push for steps that support further growth of middle-class jobs and reward those who work hard and play by the rules, including investments in infrastructure, reforms to the business tax code and immigration system, expanded overseas markets for America's goods and services, and an increase in the minimum wage," he said.

pmh/vs