Bush says economic growth on track


(Gold9472: FOR WHO?)

Sat Jun 4, 2005 9:16 PM ET

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush said on Saturday that the U.S. economic expansion was solid, with thriving small-business and factory sectors, despite a report showing weak payroll growth.

"America's economy is on the right track," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Small businesses are flourishing. Factory output is growing. And families are taking home more of what they earn."

Bush did not mention Friday's report from the Labor Department showing U.S. employers added only 78,000 workers to their payrolls in May, the weakest job growth in nearly two years.

The figure fanned fears on Wall Street of a slowing economy. Stock prices slid nearly 1 percent.

The news was not entirely bearish as the Labor Department also said the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, its lowest since September 2001, from April's 5.2 percent as a survey of households found job growth much more robust.

Bush urged lawmakers to pass some of his priorities, including a broad energy bill and the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA.