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'European crisis slowed down growth in US, India and China'

world Updated: Jun 06, 2012 10:09 IST
Bill Clinton

Crisis in Europe is casting a pall over everything, and has slowed down growth not only in the United States, but also in countries like India, China and Brazil, the former US President Bill Clinton has said.

"…the big factors are Europe, which is, like, casting a pall over everything, all this trouble in Europe where unemployment is three points higher in the Eurozone than it is here. And it's slowed down growth in India, China and Brazil, too, as well as here," Clinton told the PBS News Hour in an interview on Tuesday.

Clinton, who is campaigning for reelection of the US President Barack Obama, was responding to questions on the high unemployment in the United States. Latest jobs report last week revealed that only 69,000 jobs created across the country last month.

"Well, that means it's something he (Obama) needs to talk to the American people about. But to me it doesn't, for two or three reasons. One is I think that the jobs creation has slowed down partly because maybe we were a little robust in the winter, because we had a warm winter, and maybe that's given a slower spring," he said.

But the bigger factor is the European crisis, he noted.

"Secondly, I think that the government has the real ability to generate employment through infrastructure investments and aid to state and local governments, but the Congress won't pass the jobs plan. And we've had, in the last 27 months, 4.3 million new private-sector jobs, but we've lost 600,000 public jobs because we didn't continue what the stimulus had done there," he said.

"The third thing is we're still working out of this housing thing. If we could accelerate the rate -- and it does seem to be picking up now -- accelerate the rate in which all these mortgage issues are resolved, then I think you would see, particularly on the part of small businesses, a lot more borrowing, a lot more investment, a lot more activity," he said.

Clinton noted that America still has the world's largest economy, still the biggest exporter and still has enormous strengths.

"We are younger than Europe and Japan. We're going to be younger than China in 20 years. We're the most diverse economy in the world. We're importing manufacturing jobs again. We're bringing them home. For the first time since the '90s manufacturing is growing. And it looks like it's going to continue for three to five years," he said.

Considering it as the "agonizing fits-and-starts phase", the former US President said that the country would not face any problem.

"And the Europeans appear to be trying to put together a sensible response on the banking side and Eurobonds to invest in infrastructure to grow the economy. So if that happens, I think he'll be fine. I think he'll get through it," Clinton said in response to a question.