U.S. President, Treasury Secretary Say Puzzling Economy Makes Forecasting the Future Difficult

Chicago–President Bush said Monday that the economy was strong but providing mixed signals, making it difficult to address the housing slump, oil price increases and the threat of a recession, The New York Times reports.Speaking at the Union League Club in Chicago, Bush told business leaders that “recent economic indicators are increasingly mixed.”In New York, Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. on Monday echoed the president’s sentiments in a speech to the New York Society of Securities Analysts. Paulson told the group that the economy could worsen before it gets better, alluding to the large housing inventory and increased unemployment rate.“We will likely have further indications of slower growth in the weeks and months ahead,” he said. “It will take additional time for markets to regain confidence.”Both Bush and Paulson did not specify how to fix the confusing economy, although Bush again stated he felt lower taxes were needed.Paulson said the administration would “remain vigilant” and give the country frequent updates “as we move through this period.”