Geithner sees 'unacceptably high' jobless rate

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said he expects the unemployment rate to remain "unacceptably high" for a long time, even as the economy recovers and job growth slowly resumes.

"I think the key thing that's going to happen is the economy's going to start creating jobs again," Geithner said in an interview aired Thursday on NBC's "Today." "But the unemployment rate is still terribly high, and it is going to stay unacceptably high for a long period of time."

The comments came ahead of the government's monthly jobs report, which is due Friday. That report is expected to show that U.S. employers added 190,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate remaining at a persistently high 9.7%.

"It is going to take a long time to bring it down because of the damage of the recession," Geithner said of the jobless rate.

The remarks were consistent with previous administration forecasts. In a Feb. 1 report on assumptions underlying the fiscal 2011 budget, Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Christina Romer said the unemployment rate will end the year at around 9.8%, and will reach 8.9% by the fourth quarter of next year.

Geithner, who was interviewed at a meeting of business leaders in Pittsburgh, said the financial crisis and subsequent recession of the last few years had caused a "huge amount of damage" to businesses and households.

"We're going to be living with that damage for some time," he said.

However, he stressed that President Obama has taken steps to revive economic activity and foster job growth, including a $17.6 billion bill passed earlier this month.

"It is going to take time to bring back what we lost," Geithner said. "But again, that's why he's working so hard to make sure that Congress is providing additional support for job creation, more support for small business, more support for infrastructure, more support for cities and states across the country."

--CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley contributed to this report. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,683.58 -46.53 -0.26%
Nasdaq 4,991.94 -17.27 -0.34%
S&P 500 2,068.76 -8.02 -0.39%
Treasuries 2.28 -0.11 -4.81%
Data as of 7:31am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.94 -0.09 -0.53%
Micron Technology In... 18.32 -0.75 -3.93%
Frontier Communicati... 4.92 0.07 1.44%
Intel Corp 30.04 -0.52 -1.69%
Apple Inc 126.00 -0.44 -0.35%
Data as of Jul 6
Sponsors

Sections

America's biggest coffee chain is getting more expensive on Tuesday after another round of price changes. More

Greece voted by a big margin against Europe's latest bailout offer on Sunday, bringing the country closer to an economic disaster that could lead to its exit from the eurozone. More

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg is joining the board at SurveyMonkey, her late husband's online survey and polling company. More

Entrepreneur Guillaume Gauthereau is on a mission to build a 50 to a 100 acre sanctuary in New York to provide refuge to honey bees. More

Building a strong credit score at a young age can save a lot of money down the road. Here's how to do it. More