News / USA

Obama: Economy Still Faces Tough Times

President Barack Obama speaks at Chrysler Group's Toledo Assembly complex in front of a Jeep Wrangler, in Toledo, Ohio, June 3, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks at Chrysler Group's Toledo Assembly complex in front of a Jeep Wrangler, in Toledo, Ohio, June 3, 2011

President Barack Obama has defended his economic policies, saying the latest disappointing national employment figures demonstrate that more work needs to be done despite some growth in the economy. The president's remarks Friday were made at an automobile plant in Toledo, Ohio.

As the president touched down in Ohio, one of several states that will be important for his re-election prospects in 2012, the latest employment figures and reaction to them were in the spotlight.

According to the latest Department of Labor figures, the national jobless rate grew to 9.1% in May, a most unwelcome increase after several months in which the White House has tried to keep the public focused on overall job growth over 15 months.

The net increase in employment was only 54,000 jobs, a significant decline from the past three months when the monthly average for new jobs was  220,000. At the same time, private companies hired only 83,000 new workers - the lowest level in almost a year.

Back at the White House, the head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, emphasized that 2.1 million jobs were added in the private sector over the past 15 months.

Goolsbee pointed to the addition of 238,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector since 2010 and what he called "solid" increases in specific sectors. Monthly employment and unemployment numbers, he added, are volatile, saying "it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report."

The president's purpose in Toledo, at a Chrysler plant involved in manufacturing Jeep vehicles, was to again underscore the success his administration's policies had in reviving the U.S. auto industry.

The federal government spent about $80 billion to bail out Chrysler and General Motors, saving hundreds of thousands of jobs. Obama said failure of the auto industry would have triggered a "cascade of damage."

"So this industry is back on its feet, repaying its debts, gaining ground," he said. "And because of you, we can once again say that the best cars in the world are built right here in the USA, right here in Ohio, right here in the midwest."

Noting that the government had been completely repaid, and six years ahead of schedule, for what he called the investments made in Chrysler under his watch, Obama said the government would soon sell its remaining interest in the company, returning it to 100 percent private ownership.

Without specifically mentioning the new unemployment figures, Obama said the economy has faced "headwinds," including high gas prices, the economic impacts of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the situation in the Middle East - and still faces an uphill climb.

"We still face some tough times, we still face some challenges," said the president. "This economy took a big hit. Just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck. It's going to take a while for it to mend and that is what has happened to our economy. It's going to take a while for it to mend."

The brief appearance in Toledo was the model for other such trips that Obama will make across the country in coming months, to promote his policies amid a still unsteady economic recovery, and as his 2012 re-election campaigning picks up speed.

Back in Washington, Obama is immersed in ongoing negotiations with Congress on bringing down deficit spending and the national debt, led by Vice President Joe Biden, and the pressing issue of achieving an agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid