News / USA

President Obama Highlights Need to Combat US Joblessness

President Barack Obama waves as he is introduced on stage during a Labor Day event at Detroit's Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011.
President Barack Obama waves as he is introduced on stage during a Labor Day event at Detroit's Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman

U.S. President Barack Obama says America’s jobless should be put to work as part of a comprehensive program to boost a languishing economy. The president marked Monday’s U.S. Labor Day holiday with a speech in Detroit, Michigan, one of America’s most-economically depressed cities.

At a time of sluggish U.S. economic growth and stubbornly high unemployment, President Barack Obama acknowledged the obvious.

“These are tough times for working Americans," he said. "They are even tougher for Americans who are looking for work, and a lot of them have been looking for a long time.”

Home to what was once the world’s biggest car making hub, Michigan has seen hundreds of industries shrink or disappear altogether, and is currently enduring a 10.9 percent unemployment rate, nearly two points higher than the national average. In Detroit, joblessness has hovered between 20 and 30 percent in recent years.

President Obama said the nation can forge a better economic future if it unleashes workers on infrastructure projects.

“We have got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding," he said. "We have got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building. We have got more than one-million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now. There is work to be done, and there are workers ready to do it.”

Obama urged the U.S. Congress to “get on board” with an infrastructure program.

Thursday, the president will lay out his economic agenda before a joint session of Congress. Although the White House has provided few details in advance, Obama’s proposals are expected to include a substantial federal push to boost employment in the United States.

Already, Republicans are lining up in opposition to a government-directed jobs initiative. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination to challenge Obama in 2012, told supporters in South Carolina the key to Texas’ relatively low unemployment rate is a vibrant private sector and a state government that does not over-extend itself.

“We [have] got to get America back working again," said Perry. "And government’s role is to create an environment [conducive to job growth]. I did not create those jobs. Americans created those jobs. Texans created those jobs, because we allowed them to have an environment where they were not overtaxed, overregulated, or over-litigated. We got out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best: create jobs.”

Celebrated on the first Monday of September, Labor Day became a national holiday in the late 1800s, a period of significant labor strife in the United States.  

Although major strikes are less common today and American union membership has declined in recent decades, Labor Day remains a time to reflect upon and celebrate the sacrifices and contributions of workers to the nation’s progress and prosperity. In many Americans’ minds, it is also a time to mark the end of summer.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid