News / USA

Obama: 2014 Can Be 'Breakthrough' Year for Jobs, Economy

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the economy, jobs, and manufacturing, at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jan. 15, 2014.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the economy, jobs, and manufacturing, at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jan. 15, 2014.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday underscored his commitment to spurring job creation and boosting manufacturing, through creation of public-private investment hubs throughout the United States.

Obama traveled to the southern state of North Carolina, hard-hit by job losses in the Great Recession of a few years ago, to announce creation of a new manufacturing hub.

The first was announced last year in Youngstown, Ohio. At North Carolina State University, the federal government and 18 private companies are combining funding and resources to create a second hub focused on power electronics.

As the overall U.S. economic recovery continues, boosting manufacturing has been a key priority for the president.

Obama pointed to what he calls a trend of companies starting to bring jobs back to the United States, and he provided a preview of the likely main theme of his fifth State of the Union address on January 28.

"We have got cheap energy costs, we have got the best workers in the world, we have got the best university systems in the world, we have got the largest market in the world," said the president. "So the pieces are there to restore some of the ground the middle class has lost in recent decades; start raising wages for American families. But it requires us to take action. This has to be a year of action."

That action, Obama said, includes a need for Congress to approve federal support for the unemployed. The White House has sharply criticized Senate Republicans for blocking this legislation.

The president also previewed what is likely to be his approach going forward with Congress, where Republicans succeeded in blocking many of his domestic agenda goals.  

"The challenge of making sure everybody who works hard can get ahead in today's economy is so important that we can't wait for Congress to solve it," he said. "Where I can act, on my own, without Congress, I am going to do so."

In the face of Republican obstruction through his first term and into his second, Obama has used executive orders to push through initiatives he says are crucial for job growth and the middle class.

Obama said restoring the American dream of opportunity for everyone who is willing to work for it "is something that should unite the country [not] divide the country."

The president urged Congress to pass legislation required to achieve a goal he set of creating 45 innovation manufacturing zones across the country.

Obama continues to face criticism from House and Senate Republicans who point to high unemployment, and object to his health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

"The month of December was the worst job performance literally in three years," Senate Republican John Thune said Monday on Capitol Hill. The labor participation rate is at the lowest level since Jimmy Carter's administration 36 years ago and the bad news for the American people continues to pile up."

In his remarks in North Carolina, Obama pointed to figures showing 568,000 manufacturing jobs added during his first term, including 80,000 over the past five months, with more than eight million jobs created since the depths of the recession.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid