Newly minted Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the U.S. economy, while stronger than predicted, will face a number of long-term hurdles including reformation of entitlement programs and uneven income distribution.
Paulson delivered his remarks before students and academics at Columbia Business School here.

"The U.S. economy is on a more solid footing, and is stronger than most of us would have predicted. The unemployment rate has held below 5 percent for seven straight months, and we have seen 5.4 million new jobs created since August 2003," said Paulson.

Paulson said that the economy's position of strength will assist in meeting longer-term issues such as reforming Medicare and Medicaid, advancing energy security, strengthening trade and investment policies that benefit American workers, and addressing wage growth and uneven income distribution.

It was Paulson's first pubic speech since being sworn in as Treasury Secretary July 10.

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