Job losses reflect economy in recession: Bush

December 6th, 2008 - 3:10 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 6 (DPA) President George W. Bush Friday said he was concerned about the more than 500,000 US jobs lost in November as the economic recession deepens, and insisted his administration was helping ease the credit crisis at the heart of the economic downturn.The rise in the US unemployment rate to 6.7 percent “reflects the fact that our economy is in a recession,” Bush said. US economists this week officially declared the world’s largest economy has been in a recession since December 2007.

“We are focusing on the root causes of the economic downturn in order to return our economy to health,” Bush said in brief comments at the White House, citing moves to increase the availability of loans and bring stability to the financial system.

“Credit is beginning to move. A market that was frozen is thawing,” Bush said.

The Labour Department Friday said 533,000 jobs were cut nationwide in November, the most in a month since 1974. More than 1.9 million jobs have been lost so far in 2008.

Thursday a private group reported retail sales in November fell 2.7 percent compared to a year earlier, the largest drop in more than 30 years.

Bush also urged Congress to aid the country’s three struggling automakers, whose executives were appearing before legislators Thursday and Friday to plea for a $34-billion federal bail-out.

But Bush warned he would not support the use of taxpayer money to prop up companies “that may not survive” and was silent on whether General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC should get all they money they asked for.

He instead advised Congress to restructure a $25-billion bill that was originally intended only for energy-efficiency improvements.

“It is important that Congress act next week on this plan. And it’s important to make sure that taxpayers’ money be paid back if any is given to the companies,” Bush said.

Congress remains deadlocked on how and whether to come to the aid of the US car industry, which has seen domestic sales slump to 25- year lows amid the current recession but has long been criticized for building outdated petrol-guzzling vehicles.

Democrats have criticized the administration for focusing only on rescuing Wall Street’s financial firms. Leading Democrats in Congress sent a letter to Bush Wednesday night urging him to use already- existing authority under the $700-billion financial rescue package to help the carmakers.

With the economic recession deepening, president-elect Barack Obama has promised to introduce a massive new fiscal stimulus package after he takes office January 20 to help create 2.5 million jobs.

“There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better,” Obama said in a statement on the new jobless figures.

“But now is the time to respond with urgent resolve to put people back to work and get our economy moving again.”

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