U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the nation's jobless rate will be "unacceptably high" for a long time.
Thursday, Geithner told television interviewers on NBC that businesses are going to start creating jobs again, but also said it will take a long time to reverse the damage done by the recession.
The U.S. economy shed more than eight million jobs during the recession. The unemployment rate is currently a relatively high 9.7 percent.
The government is scheduled to publish an updated unemployment report Friday. Economists interviewed by news organizations say the data will show a net gain in jobs for only the second time since the recession began.
A separate government report published Thursday seems to back up that prediction. The Labor Department data show the number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation declined slightly last week, by 6,000 to a total of 439,000.
A report by a private employment company, Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Thursday gave a mixed picture of the job market's health. It found the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose from February to March, but fell compared to March of last year.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.