ABC News' Yunji de Nies and Jake Tapper report:
At his daily briefing today, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the stock market "can be a lagging economic indicator." Many economists consider the stock market a leading economic indicator as it tends to rise and fall ahead of the broader economy. Unemployment is traditionally a lagging indicator. For instance, Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist of Economic Outlook Group has said, "History has shown us time and time again that recessions end and recoveries begin long before we see an improvement in the labor market ... After the 2001 recession concluded in November, joblessness continued to rise until the middle of 2003. We will almost certainly have another jobless recovery for many months once this recession ends, which we believe will be in the second half of the year."
"I don't think the market always interprets what may or may not be happening in the short term and how it affects the long term," Gibbs said. "You looked at the market in October of 2007, at 14,000 points, everything was grand. Yet two months later, somehow a series of economists -- and I'm sure maybe some of those interviewed by the Wall Street Journal found that we were in a recession."
Gibbs reminded reporters that when the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) initially passed, the stock market went up, but clearly the economy was in decline.
"It went up 1,000 points. Do you think at that point -- did you -- did you think at that point, based on the gyrations of the stock market, that our problems were solved?" Gibbs asked.
"Well, I think, as the president has enumerated, that I'm not entirely sure that the perception of the up-and-downs of the market are necessarily the perceptions of where the economy is heading." Gibbs was asked about a recent Wall Street Journal survey, which showed that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has less support than his predecessor Secretary Henry Paulson. "The administration is not here to win a popularity contest among economists that are interviewed by a newspaper," Gibbs responded. "The president has great confidence in his economic team."
-- Yunji de Nies and Jake Tapper