March 6, 2009

United States unemployment at 25-year high

POLITICS - 651,000 U.S. jobs were lost in February, bringing the total number of unemployed Americans to "an astounding 4.4 million" the number lost in the current recession, bringing the American unemployment rate to 8.1%, the highest since late 1983.

Calling the latest job losses astounding, United States President Barack Obama promised today to get Americans back to work and put an end to the American recession.

As part of Obama's action plan, the U.S. Labor Department said it was making more than $3.5 billion available to states for education, training and re-employment services. Today Obama spoke at the graduation ceremony for 25 police recruits who owe their jobs to the $787 billion USD economic recovery bill he signed into law less than three weeks ago.

Obama's stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million jobs within the next two years.

Meanwhile in China...


Premier Wen Jiabao put the Chinese people on notice yesterday: Get ready for the rockiest year of the new century. 2009 will be "the most difficult year for China's economic development since the beginning of the 21st century," said Wen Jiabao at the opening of the annual National People's Congress. Wen said he believes China's economy will continue to grow, at approx. 8% for 2009.

Wen said yesterday the Chinese government is "fully confident" that its stimulus package of about $730 billion announced last November will help China overcome all difficulties.

Investors overseas were hoping for another stimulus package, but this is wholly unnecessary as China's economy is geared for growth right now and is in no danger of a recession.

China's market contractions have already thrown more than 20 million people out of work and economists worry that the total number of unemployed – not including the farming sector – could hit 50 million people by the end of 2009.

China is still very much a developing country in parts. More than 48 million Chinese gained access to clean drinking water last year for the first time in their lives; billions of yuan were allocated to providing heat to schools in the north; and daily sewage treatment capacity increased by more than 11 million tonnes.

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