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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid