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Geithner Weighs Pace of Job Losses, Defends Stress Tests

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defends the stringency of the banking stress tests and offers insight on the pace of U.S. job losses as unemployment reaches 8.9 percent.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Secretary Geithner, thank you very much for talking with us.

  • SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER:

    Thanks for having me.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Unemployment first. What does it say about our economy when the loss of another 540,000 jobs is viewed as slightly encouraging?

  • SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER:

    No, I agree with you. These are terrible numbers at one level, but it is important that the pace of job loss is slowing a bit. We had a long way to go, but that's an important beginning. But you're right, you know, half a million Americans lost their jobs again this month and this economy is still facing enormous challenges and there's just enormous pains still across the American economy.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    There are some economists who are saying what really alarms them is that a fourth — more than a fourth of the people who are out of work have been out of work for over six months. What does that say about where we are?

  • SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER:

    Well, that's true. That's just another good measure, again, about how deep this recession it is and how much damage it has already caused. But the important thing — it's important to focus on the things that are getting better, is that the impact of what the president and this Congress have done already has made a material difference on confidence, the pace of declined economic activity has slowed. Things are stabilizing a bit. Financial markets are getting a little better, interest rates have come down, credit markets are opening up again, and that's an important beginning too.

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