05/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Geithner: The "Crude Reality" Is Unemployment Could Rise As Economy Starts Recovering

President Obama's Treasury Secretary and senior adviser both cautioned on Sunday that while the economy was making strides towards a recovery, unemployment rates were likely to rise even further.

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Timothy Geithner would not say whether he believed the unemployment rate would go as high as ten percent -- it now stands at 8.5 percent. But he did note that the history of recovery dictates that employment numbers lag behind other indicators of growth.

"The typical pattern of recovery is that growth recovers, growth starts to turn positive, people start to spend more, businesses hire more, they invest more, before you see unemployment peak," he said. "That's the crude reality of recoveries."

"Do you think it could go as high as 10 percent?" host Bob Schieffer asked, with respect to unemployment levels.

"It depends on how effective we are in moving," replied Geithner. 'That is why it is so important that we move with countries around the world ... In past recoveries the world sort of depended on the American consumer to spend the world into recovery. That's not a healthy, balanced way for us to do this. We need the countries around the world to be moving with us."

Earlier on Sunday, strategist David Axelrod was asked a similar line of questioning on Fox News Sunday. He provided a similar answer.

"I'm not prepared to say that's where it's going to go," he said of the unemployment rate. But the president was very clear and the reason that we pushed for an economic recovery act was that we were going to have a very difficult year this year. And unemployment -- employment is the last thing that follows growth. So it's going to be a while for us to turn upwards on these jobs numbers ... We inherited a terribly difficult situation. And we have to work our way out of it. It took years to get into it. It's going to take more than months to get out of it."