President Bush used the word "recession" for the first time in describing the overall state of the U.S. economy, Friday.
He blamed the economic turndown partly on severe problems with housing credit and the financial markets causing job losses.
Bush said he backs adjusting an existing $25 billion loan program for the auto industry that would get money to the automakers quickly.
"I'm concerned about the viability of the automobile companies," the President said. "I'm concerned for those who work for the automobile companies and their families. And likewise, I am concerned about taxpayer money being provided for those companies that may not survive."
"It is important that Congress acts next week on this plan," he continued. "And it's important to make sure that taxpayers money be paid back if any is given to the companies."
The Bush administration had refused to use the term recession until Monday. That's when a National Bureau of Economic Research panel announced that the economy is in a recession and has been since December 2007.
Bush also expressed his concern for Americans who have lost jobs, but said there are some encouraging signs in the credit markets.
The President only has 46 more days left in office before President-elect Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office.
"There is still more work to do," Bush said. "My administration is committed to ensuring that our economy succeeds."
At 12 months, the current recession is already the longest since a severe 16-month slump in 1981-82.
Some economists say this downturn will ultimately set a new record for the post-World War II period.
Source: The Associated Press