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Squawk on the Street

OMB's Portman: U.S. In "Steady State of Growth"

You lose some, you win some: Friday's jobs report showed the smallest rise in two years -- 97,000 jobs in February -- but revisions gave December and January unexpected strength. Rob Portman, director of the Office Of Management & Budget, said the report vindicates the Bush Administration's view that the U.S. economy is in a "steady state" of growth.

Speaking on "Squawk on the Street," Portman pointed to 2.2% real wage growth, increases in service jobs, and easing unemployment -- down to 4.5% from 4.6% -- as proof that the economic state of the union is on a "steady, sustainable path."

When CNBC's Erin Burnett grilled Portman about possible "downside" indicators such as slowing business spending and glum consumer-optimism surveys, he conceded that "we'll see a lot of data going up and down" -- but maintained that despite some "soft spots," the economy "seems strong."

Asked whether the biggest threat to America's economic health is a growth slowdown or inflation, Portman demurred, replying, "I don't know if I can say, one way or the other." He said that the White House had predicted just under 3% growth this year, and declared that "we still think we can achieve that -- and so does the Federal Reserve."

Portman on Jobs Report