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.
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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid