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Obama: More to Do to Boost US Economy

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, in La Crosse, Wis., July 2, 2015, about the economy and to promote a proposed Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime.

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, in La Crosse, Wis., July 2, 2015, about the economy and to promote a proposed Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime.

President Barack Obama said the latest jobs report for the U.S. is "good," but there is still more work to do "get folks' wages and incomes to keep going up."

The president said Thursday in remarks at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse that while the country has had a record "64 straight months of private sector job growth... there are a lot of folks who still feel like the playing field is tilted in ways that make it hard for them to get ahead."

Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed the U.S. had a net gain of 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.3 percent.

That is the lowest jobless rate since 2008; however, officials say the rate fell partly because more than 400,000 people gave up their job search and are therefore no longer counted as unemployed.

The report says job gains were seen in business services, health care and the retail trade. Job losses continued in the mining sector, including the petroleum industry, which has been hit hard by falling oil prices.

The number of Americans out of work declined by 375,000, the Labor Department said, to 8.3 million. Another 6.5 million people want full-time jobs but can find only part-time work.

White House officials say the U.S. economy has had a net gain of 2.9 million jobs over the past year, and 12.8 million over the past five years.

Obama also noted Thursday that affordable health care has not crippled the American economy as predicted by Republicans.

He said that "what business owners pay out in wages and salaries is now growing faster than what they spend on health care." He said that is "the first time that's happened since the 1990s."

Obama said "I have these vague recollections of when Republicans were saying Obamacare would kill jobs and crush freedom and bring about death panels." He said the only difference now is that another 16 million Americans can celebrate the fourth of July, America's Independence Day, with health care. "The republic survived," the president said.

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