Gibbs: 'Stimulus plan is working' despite job losses

Despite losing almost a half-million jobs in June, the economy is showing signs of recovery, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president joins the American people in being "impatient for results" as Republicans are howling that Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan has done nothing to halt job losses.

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"There's a sense that beginnings of stabilization are taking hold, and hopefully the worst job loss is behind us," Gibbs said, adding the president was "deeply disappointed by the continued job loss" as the national unemployment rate moved up to 9.5 percent.

Gibbs said he "absolutely" believes that number is "definitely headed to 10 percent."

"It may not be next month, but I would assume in the next two to three months I think it's quite clear that we'll hit that number," Gibbs said.

The president met with business leaders Thursday afternoon to discuss job creation.

After the meeting, Obama, talking to reporters in the Rose Garden, said the meeting "is a timely discussion on a day of sobering news."

Obama noted that June's job losses were not as bad as those in recent months, and he said he is seeing some positive signs the economy is starting to recover.

"Obviously, this is of little comfort to all those Americans who've lost their jobs," the president said.

Republicans are continuing to double-down on their bet that Obama's stimulus gamble will ultimately fail, saving few jobs at an enormous cost.

In June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a group of TV producers that he thought "the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own, wholly aside from this, before much of [the stimulus] has an impact."

"So I’m very skeptical that this massive sort of spending binge that we’ve engaged in is going to have much of an impact," McConnell said.

Under intense fire from Republicans who have questioned from the beginning whether the stimulus plan would work, Gibbs said flatly Thursday that "the stimulus plan is working."

This story was updated at 3 p.m.