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Geithner Says Bank Tests Will Be Reassuring 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a television interview that the government's intense evaluation of the largest banks will "reassure" the public about the economic strength of these key institutions.

Officials have been conducting what they call "stress tests" of the nation's largest 19 banks to see what would happen if the recession gets significantly worse.

Top economic officials are scheduled to announce test results later on Thursday.

Published reports say about half the banks will need to raise more money to handle potential losses.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech the U.S. central bank must do a better job supervising financial institutions, including an improved evaluation of financial firms' ability to cope with future economic downturns.

Meanwhile, a government report says the number of job layoffs declined last week to the lowest level since January.

The report also finds the number of people collecting long-term unemployment benefits hit a record high of 6.35 million, showing many Americans are still having a hard time finding work.

A separate Labor Department report finds worker productivity rose during the first three months of the year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.