WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product figures are likely to be better than the first quarter, showing some signs of improvements in the economy, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said on Sunday.
First quarter GDP, which measures total output within U.S. borders, contracted slightly less at a 5.5 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 5.7 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said on June 25.
"The second quarter GDP numbers, even though they're likely to still show a decline, are likely to look a lot better than the first quarter, which is a sign of progress," Orszag told CNN.
"Mixed messages are part of what happens during these kinds of periods, where a sense of free fall's over, but we're not yet at point of sustained growth," he added.
Orszag said the feeling of fear and panic in financial markets had dissipated and the White House was focused on job growth, consumption and net exports, all key drivers of economic activity.
While there are some signs of progress, Orszag cautioned it was going to take time for the U.S. economy to recover, especially with unemployment expected to rise further.
"You can't go from job losses of 700,000 a month, which was what was happening in the months leading up to January, to job growth like that, you know, just instantaneously," Orszag told Fox. "It's going to take some time to work our way of this," he added.
Asked about Federal Reserve estimates of 9.5 to 9.8 percent for U.S. unemployment in 2010, Orszag said: "It's going to take time to work our way out of this. I'm not disputing that."
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, additional reporting by Vicki Allen; Editing by Sandra Maler)