WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The latest gross domestic product number indicates the U.S. economy weakened substantially, Council of Economic Advisers chairman Edward Lazear said Thursday.
The GDP, the broadest economic measure of production of goods and services, was a minus 0.3, which indicated a flat economy for the third quarter, Lazear said during a briefing at the White House. The economy experienced nearly 3 percent growth in the second quarter, he said.
"So there's no question that these numbers tell us that the economy has weakened and weakened substantially," Lazear said. While not unexpected, the third-quarter GDP demonstrates "the general picture is that the economy has slowed."
The administration is addressing the downturn in two ways, he said, explaining the government believed the $700 billion rescue package and other actions taken by other agencies -- such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Housing Administration -- would be effective.
Lazear said he thought the economy would move in a more positive direction in 2009.
"We believe that we're going to see a few tough months ahead," he said. "And we think that it is realistic to think that sometime early in the term of the next president we can start to see solid growth again."