U.S. President Barack Obama says the country's economy is in better shape than when he took office in January. The president says he is looking for every possible way to create jobs and get the economy moving.
President Obama went to a highway construction project near Washington (Wednesday), and said he will do everything in his power to put Americans back to work. "We are moving forward on a number of different economic fronts. And we are going to continue to explore each and every avenue that I can think of that will lead to job creation and economic growth," he said.
The U.S. unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is the highest it has been since the early 1980's. Despite that, Mr. Obama said the nation's economy is much stronger than when he took office nine months ago. He credits the $787 billion economic stimulus bill he signed in February.
"Our economy is in better shape today than it was when I took office; when we were hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs a month; when our financial system was on the brink of collapse; and economists from just about every part of the political spectrum were predicting that we might be sinking into a Great Depression," he said.
Many economists agree that despite the continuing high unemployment rate, the recession has ended in the United States.
In one encouraging sign of economic recovery, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the best-known U.S. stock market index, topped 10,000 Wednesday, for the first time in more than a year. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs downplayed the news. "I think the president would be quick to tell you that is only one measure of any sort of economic health," he said.
The construction site the president visited is one of 8,000 highway projects approved under the Recovery Act. Construction is underway on almost 5,000 of those projects.