The speed at which US companies cut jobs slowed last month.
In April, 539,000 Americans lost their jobs. That is fewer than economists has predicted and the smallest number since last October, though the totals for the previous two months were revised upwards. After the figures were announced, US President Barack Obama laid out new plan to retrain people who lose their jobs: “First, we’ll open new doors to higher education and job training programs to recently laid off workers who are receiving unemployment benefits. And if those displaced workers need help paying for their education, they should get it.” Obama said there have been “somewhat encouraging” improvements in the US labour markets and “the gears of the US economic engine seem to be slowly turning once again” but he added the rate of joblessness is “still a sobering toll.” Indeed it is now at a 25 year high of 8.9 percent of the working population. At the same time, US regulators have moved to restore confidence in the country’s top banks. After examining their books the officials told the banks they have to raise 74.4 billion dollars (55 billion euros) to build up their capital as a cushion against the effects of the recession. The exercise did show smaller capital needs than had been feared.