11:03 PM EDT, June 6, 2011
Austan Goolsbee, President Barack Obama's chief economic adviser, is leaving the administration and returning to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to teach.
The announcement from the White House late Monday comes at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is back above 9 percent and speculation is growing that the nation may be at risk of dipping back into a recession, and amid intense political debate over whether to extend the nation's debt ceiling.
Goolsbee began advising Obama before his election as president and has become the administration's chief public spokesman on the economy. He has headed the White House Council of Economic Advisers for the past nine months.
On ABC's "This Week" program Sunday, Goolsbee emphasized that the administration had made progress on employment since the depths of the Great Recession and said "don't make too much of any one jobs report."
May's unemployment rate, released last week, climbed to 9.1 percent. The stock market has been sliding recently on concerns about a slowing economy in the U.S. and globally.
Obama said in a statement: "Since I first ran for the U.S. Senate, Austan has been a close friend and one of my most trusted advisers. Over the past several years, he has helped steer our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
A spokesman said Goolsbee could not be reached for comment.
Goolsbee's departure is one of several involving key economic positions. Larry Summers, who served as director of the National Economic Council, left a few months ago, as did Christina Romer, who had headed the Council of Economic Advisers. Last month, Vice President Joe Biden's chief economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, left.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC