Without additional government action to spur hiring, President Obama said Sunday that he fears the U.S. economy could enter a “new normal” in which corporate profits are high but the number of new jobs is too low to reduce the nation’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate to pre-recession levels. “What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high,” he said in an interview aired Sunday night on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “People who have jobs see their incomes go up. Businesses make big profits. But they’ve learned to do more with less. And so they don’t hire. And as a consequence, we keep on seeing growth that is just too slow to bring back the 8 million jobs that were lost.” The sit-down interview, Obama’s first since Republicans gave him what he called a “shellacking” in last week’s congressional midterm elections, focused heavily on the fragile economy and its starring role in the reversal of Democrats’ political fortunes. He lamented his inability to make more headway in creating jobs, conceding that “I do get discouraged.”

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