U.S. President Barack Obama says a "thriving middle class" is the "true engine" of America's economic growth.
Obama said in his weekly address Saturday American manufacturers have added about a half million jobs to the economy in the past three years. The president said his aim is to accelerate that trend.
President Obama said every American should be provided with the skills and training to fill the jobs.
Watch President Obama's weekly speech:
The U.S. leader has called for a minimum wage raise because he said "no one in America should work full-time and raise their children in poverty."
President Obama also said more work needs to be done to reduce the budget deficit. He called on lawmakers to have a common sense approach to that task by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected.
Representative Martha Roby said in the Republican address Congress must protect the military from devastating cuts by averting the automatic spending cuts set to take place March 1. She said President Obama and the Democrats want to use the so-called sequester to raise taxes.