News / USA

Obama: US Economy Improving, But Not Fast Enough

President Barack Obama talks about taxes at the Executive Office Building on the White House campus, Friday, August 3, 2012.
President Barack Obama talks about taxes at the Executive Office Building on the White House campus, Friday, August 3, 2012.
Kent Klein
WHITE HOUSE — President Barack Obama and his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, are taking opposing views of the latest figures on U.S. unemployment.  The numbers provide ammunition for both sides.
 
The Labor Department says America's private employers created 163,000 jobs in July, more than expected and the most since February.

The unemployment rate, however, edged upward to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent in June.  The jobless rate has remained above 8 percent since President Obama's first month in office, in 2009.

At the White House, the president said 4.5 million jobs have been created in the past 29 months, and 1.1 million jobs so far this year, but he admitted that more improvement is needed.

"Those are our neighbors and family members finding work and the security that comes with work," said Obama.  "But let's acknowledge: We have still got too many folks out there who are looking for work."

While Obama says the numbers are a sign of a continuing recovery, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney calls them "another hammer blow" to the middle class.

Campaigning in Las Vegas, Nevada, Romney said the president's policies are responsible for the struggling economy.

"Policies that have led America to have 42 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent, 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work and underemployed," said Romney.  "Those policies, we know where they lead.  They lead to an America that is not as strong as it must be for ourselves, for our children and for the world."

The number of jobs created so far this year has been enough to keep pace with population growth, but not enough to bring the unemployment rate down.

The U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 1.5 percent from April through June, after faster growth earlier in the year.

The president said Congress could help speed the economic recovery by passing a tax cut extension for all but the richest Americans.  Republicans want the tax cuts continued for all taxpayers.

"Now I just think we have got our priorities skewed if the notion is that we give tax breaks to folks who do not need them, and to help pay for that, we tax folks who are already struggling to get by," Obama added.  "That is not how you grow an economy."

The state of the economy is the issue that is most likely to affect the outcome of November's election.

Romney blames the Democratic president for the slow pace of the recovery.  Obama says the previous administration's Republican policies made the recession worse and the recovery more difficult.

No president since World War II has run for re-election with unemployment higher than 8 percent.  Many public opinion polls show that more Americans like Obama, but more of them trust Romney to lead the economy.

The president has been appealing to middle class voters, saying that he represents their interests and stressing Romney's status as a wealthy businessman.  Romney says his business experience will help improve the nation's economy.

Most polls have the two candidates virtually even overall, about three months before Election Day.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs