News / USA

US Treasury Secretary: Economy on the Mend

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Bowman

The U.S. economy is healing from a deep and prolonged recession, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner struck an upbeat note on America's economic prospects, but also stressed the need to confront pressing risks to the nation's long term financial health.

Friday brought some hopeful news to the battered U.S. labor market. Although employers continue to cut jobs amid a fledgling economic recovery, the U.S. unemployment rate for January dipped below 10 percent to 9.7 percent. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hailed the development on ABC's "This Week" program. "We are seeing some encouraging signs of healing. This is going to take a while, and it [the economic recovery] is going to be uneven. But there are encouraging signs in this [unemployment] report," he said.

Geithner noted that the drop in unemployment follows word that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent at the end of 2009. "We have an economy that was growing at almost six percent in the fourth quarter of last year -- the most rapid rate in six years. And we have the capacity as a government to reinforce that process, and help guide this economy back to the point where we are not just growing again, but we see growth translate into jobs," he said.

In its budget projections, the Obama administration is assuming that unemployment will remain stubbornly high -- above 9 percent -- well into next year. Fearing what some economists are already calling a 'jobless recovery', President Barack Obama is pressing Congress to enact financial incentives for small businesses to hire new workers.

Treasury Secretary Geithner says a jobs bill is vital, as is an overhaul of America's financial regulations to limit risk-taking by the nation's banks and major private financial institutions.

On that point, Geithner has the backing of his predecessor, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "The economy is clearly recovering. Now, one of the factors that will help is more certainty with regard to actions out of Washington. For instance, certainty with regard to financial regulatory reform will help," he said.

Congress has debated financial reform ever since the financial meltdown of 2008, when major banks, investment houses, insurance giants and mortgage firms collapsed at a catastrophic rate, and credit for consumers and businesses all but evaporated. Many economists say, without far-reaching regulatory reform, the United States risks a repeat in the future.

Also appearing on "Meet the Press" was former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who highlighted another long-term risk to America's economic health: its skyrocketing national debt. Greenspan said the debt will eventually constrain the U.S. economy and erode America's place on the world stage. "History tells us that great powers, when they have gotten into very significant fiscal problems, have ceased to be great powers," he said.

President Obama's budget projects federal deficits in excess of $1 trillion for this year and 2011. He has proposed a freeze on some domestic spending, and sought a bipartisan commission to craft a plan to tackle America's long-term fiscal imbalances.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More