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USA: Obama looking for new job creation ideas
With official unemployment figures reaching over 10% of the working age population, or 15.7 million people, for the first time in 27 years, Washington is becoming increasingly worried. A job summit of business leaders, union leaders and economists held on Thursday heard President Obama stress the need for the government to act, but also warned that limited funds were available. Republicans are already unhappy at the sums spent on the ‘bailout’ although a conservative economist, Mark Zandi of Economy.com, asserted that rather than worrying about a budget deficit now, the priority should be to spend more to ensure that the economy doesn’t go back into recession since the costs associated with this would be far greater. Zandi also advocated prolonging unemployment benefits past the existing 6 months to stimulate spending; providing tax cuts or subsidies for newly hired workers to inspire confidence among SMEs; and expanding federal training programmes. In addition to the 15.7 million unemployed, 9.3 million are underemployed while another 2.4 million unemployed do not count towards the statistics as they had failed to look for work in the 4 weeks before the latest survey.