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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid