UPDATE 1-Unemployment to stay 'unacceptably high' - Geithner

WASHINGTON, April 1 Thu Apr 1, 2010 7:43am EDT

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. unemployment rate, currently at 9.7 percent, will remain "unacceptably high" for some time to come, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Thursday.

"The unemployment rate is still terribly high and it's going to stay unacceptably high for a long period of time," Geithner said on NBC's "Today" Show.

The government reports its March unemployment figures on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect the report to show that the economy has added 200,000 jobs, which would mark only the second time jobs have increased since the recession started in December 2007.

"The economy's going to start creating jobs again," Geithner said. "The economy's growing now, that's the first step and with growth jobs will come."

But it will take a long time to make up ground lost to the recession, he said.

Geithner said a regulatory overhaul working its way through Congress will ensure that the government will not have to rescue the financial-services industry again.

"The president is not going to sign a bill that doesn't have strong enough teeth," he said.

Geithner also said industry leaders should not be paid in a way that encourages them to take reckless risks.

"What happened in our country should never happen again," he said.

"This is a job for governments, to do a better job of constraining that kind of risk-taking," he said.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, editing by Alan Elsner)

FILED UNDER: