By Gregory Wallace
Jack Lew sees good signs for the economy both on Capital Hill and Main Street.
And his message to the rest of the world: there's work to be done.
The Treasury Secretary said he is encouraged by Congress, which in recent months agreed on a budget,spending bill and debt limit measure.
"Maybe - just maybe," Lew said, "we'll be able, for a couple of years, to keep doing business that way."
By handling these matters, Washington is sending a worldwide message, one Lew says he'll bring to a gathering of global financial leaders this week in Australia.
Lew spoke in an interview with CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans as he prepared for that G20 meeting. Here are five highlights from that interview:
1. Thanks, Washington: Last year's government shutdown and the brinkmanship before it took a toll on the economy. But what matters is that Washington is getting its act together.
"The last four months have been very different from the prior two years," he said.
And it's showing.
"You look at the economic growth over the last six months - (there's a) decided arc of progress," he said, specifically citing "sustained job growth."
But Lew acknowledged room for growth. The numbers support that: hiring in December and January was weak and far below expectations.
Christine Romans on a report showing parents will spent $1,139 on 2013 prom expenses and what it means for the economy.
Christine Romans is minding your business with details from a study on retirement savings, and the latest on U.S. stock futures and world markets.
An EBRI report reveals that people are not putting aside enough for their retirement. “You’ve got 57% have less than $25,000 in savings,” Romans says. “That is not enough.” Only about 12% has more than $250,000 saved. “That’s where you want to be,” she says. But more people are less confident about saving for retirement due to job uncertainty, day-to-day expenses and high debt.
Stock futures indicated slightly lower opens this morning as the recession deepens in Europe. Cyprus is set to become the fourth European country to get a bailout and possibly be a headwind for U.S. stocks. After a major rally, “the market's been ripe for a pullback,” Romans says, “so tread carefully here.”
Christine Romans is minding your business this morning with an eye on U.S. stock futures. "All three of the major averages set for a higher open," Romans reports.
Also, China sets highly ambitious economic goals for the year. Romans has the details.
This morning on "Early Start," Gov. Jack Markell (D-Del.) talks with CNN's John Berman on how the forced spending cuts could cripple public services and affect the economy.
[MORE TO COME]
Christine Romans on the National Retail Federation's report showing consumers returning to recession spending habits.
Tea Party Caucus member Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) reacts to President Obama's State of the Union address.
Christine Romans looks at President Obama's goal of making the U.S. a magnet for manufacturing jobs.
FROM CNN MONEY:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
After promising five years ago to raise the federal minimum wage, President Obama finally unveiled a plan to do so on Tuesday.
In his State of the Union address, Obama pressed to raise the hourly rate in stages to $9 an hour in 2015, up from the current $7.25, and index it to inflation. The change, should it become law, would boost the wages of 15 million Americans, according to the White House.
This morning on "Early Start," Christine Romans looks at President Obama's State of the Union proposal to raise the federal minimum wage and how it could affect the economy.
READ MORE: The impact of a $9 minimum wage
This morning on "Early Start," Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) previews President Obama's State of the Union address and solutions for the economy, rocker Ted Nugent's scheduled appearance at the speech and North Korea's nuclear test.
Read the transcript after the jump.
"Early Start with John Berman and Christine Romans" airs weekdays from 5-6am ET on CNN. Check in regularly for news, show updates and a little bit of fun.