While the unemployment rate climbed to 8.9% in April, the number of job losses was down to 539,000, a sign that the recession may be slowing and recovery is on its way.

The New York Times: “The labor market is still very weak, but it looks like the most intense spate of weakness is probably behind us,” said Michael T. Darda, chief economist at the research and trading firm MKM Partners. “Less bad is always a prelude to good. It’s going to take some time for this economy to get back on its feet, but we might be closer to the recession ending.”

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Meanwhile, President Obama announced Friday an ambitious plan of rethinking our unemployment system as an opportunity for the jobless to go back to school and gain skills. Through favorable legislation and easier access to Pell grants, Obama believes that “ … by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

Read his entire speech here

It is important, however, to not lose sight of the underlying issues of the economic crisis despite these new promises of recovery. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman reminds us, by not keeping banks in check, the American people run the great risk of losing the opportunity for real and profound financial reform and accumulating even greater losses.

“The government’s evident unwillingness either to own banks or let them fail creates a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose situation. If all goes well, the bankers will win big. If the current strategy fails, taxpayers will be forced to pay for another bailout,” Krugman writes.

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