News / USA

Obama: US Economy Moving In Right Direction

President Barack Obama (r) and the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, Jan. 6, 2012
President Barack Obama (r) and the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, Jan. 6, 2012
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is cautiously welcoming Friday's news that the U.S. unemployment rate continues to fall.  The president says the December jobless numbers show that the nation’s economy is moving in the right direction.

With unemployment at its lowest level in almost three years, President Obama indicated that Americans have reason to be encouraged.

“It is important for the American people to recognize that we have now added 3.2 million new private sector jobs over the last 22 months, nearly 2 million new jobs last year alone," said President Obama.

December’s jobless rate was 8.5 percent, two-tenths of a percent below the revised rate for November.  More than 200,000 non-government jobs were added to the economy last month.

Still, the president acknowledged Friday that the recovery has not yet touched everyone.

“There are still a lot of struggles that people are going through out there," Obama said. "A lot of families are still having a tough time.  A lot of small businesses are still having a tough time.  But we are starting to rebound.  We are moving in the right direction.  We have made real progress.  Now is not the time to stop.”

Experts across the political spectrum also welcome the improved unemployment figures.  But Liz Rose, with the liberal think tank Campaign for America’s Future, says some segments of the population are not yet receiving the recovery’s benefits.

“Particularly, you know, if you are African-American, or if you are over 50, or if you are a student or someone who just graduated from school, the economy is still rough," said Rose. " We cannot just start celebrating.  We really want to still work on fixing the economy and making sure that those people get jobs.”

At the conservative Heritage Foundation, research fellow Rea Hederman says the December jobs numbers are a good sign, especially if the downward trend continues.

“It confirms that the sharp drop in the unemployment rate that we have seen in the last couple of months is real, so that is very positive news," said  Hederman. "But we still want to be cautious, because we saw a similar report like this back in 2010, in April, and unfortunately, at that point, the good news was fleeting as the labor market continued its slog.”

Mr. Obama said Friday the increase in job creation can be credited partly to the middle-class tax cut enacted last year.  And he called on Congress to pass a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut, to take the place of the two-month extension that passed recently.

Rea Hederman says uncertainty over whether the longer extension will pass is hindering further economic improvement.

“Businesses want certainty, and right now coming out of Washington is a whole bunch of uncertainty." he said. "There are a lot of regulations, and even worse, there are policies such as a two-month extension of tax cuts that will do nothing to help the economy.”

Nearly all the jobs created in December were in the private sector.  At the same time, state and local governments cut another 12,000 jobs.

Liz Rose says government job cuts are also holding back the economic recovery.

“Federal, state and local governments are still laying off cops, teachers and firefighters," she said. "And so this is not the time for a premature turn to austerity.  We need to keep the government programs going that support people who do not have jobs.”

The president spoke at the Washington office of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Mr. Obama was introduced by the agency’s director, Richard Cordray.

The president appointed Cordray earlier this week without approval from Congress, infuriating many Republican lawmakers, some of whom said the move was illegal.  

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid