President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the U.S. economy remained under strain and his top economic adviser tempered hopes for a speedy recovery that have driven the stock market to successive gains.
"We're not out of the woods. This is still a difficult time for the economy. Credit is still contracted," Obama told a news conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he was attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
Data continue to show the country's severe recession is inflicting severe pain, with over 5 million jobs lost since it began in late 2007. But there have been scattered indications that the pace of economic decline is slowing.
"We've seen some more mixed statistics after a period when there was no positive statistics to be found," White House Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"But it is a long road and it is going to take time. It is going to take creating jobs again ... it is going to take supporting the financial system," he said.
A key challenge for the U.S. economy is to restore confidence that its banks are now sufficiently capitalized after huge losses from the collapse of the housing market.
Obama's economic team is conducting stress tests of the top 19 U.S. firms and will issue guidelines on the process on April 24, with results due on May 4.
Obama said the tests would show that some firms need more help than others.
"Different banks are in different situations. They're going to need different levels of assistance from taxpayers," Obama said, and he vowed that taxpayer money would not be wasted.
"We try to use as light a touch as we can. But I am not going to simply put taxpayer money into a black hole, where you are not going to see results," he said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Nisan 2009, 15:08