Responding to the unemployment numbers out this morning, President Obama said that the nation is “headed in the right direction,” but added that “were’ not headed there fast enough.”
“We are headed in the right direction,” the president said from Andrews Air Force base, “But, as I was reminded on a trip to Racine, Wisconsin, earlier this week, we’re not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We’re not headed there fast enough for me, either. The recession dug us a hole of about 8 million jobs deep. And we continue to fight headwinds from volatile global markets. So we still have a great deal of work to do to repair the economy and get the American people back to work.”
The unemployment report out today showed that the US economy lost 125,000 jobs in June, though the unemployment rate fell to 9.5%, the Labor Department reported today. The numbers were worse than the 110,000-job loss economist had predicted in a Reuters survey. But the loss is not as sharp as it sounds, since 225,000 of those were Census jobs that temporarily distorted the reading. Private employers actually added 83,000 workers in June.
But Mr. Obama touted today that the report shows the sixth straight month of job growth in the private sector.
“All told, our economy has created nearly 600,000 private sector jobs this year. That’s a stark turnaround from the first six months of last year, when we lost 3.7 million jobs at the height of the recession.”
Standing with the president on the windy tarmac was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The president announced 66 new broadband infrastructure investments under the Recovery Act across the nation.
“In the short term, we expect these projects to create about 5,000 construction and installation jobs around the country. And once we emerge from the immediate crisis, the long-term economic gains to communities that have been left behind in a digital age will be immeasurable.”
The president will fly to West Virginia to attend Senator Robert Byrd’s memorial service and then spend the holiday weekend at Camp David with his family.
“Sunday is the Fourth of July, and if that date reminds us of anything it’s that America has never backed down from a challenge. We’ve faced our share of tough times before, but in such moments we don’t flinch.”
The president said he wants troops overseas to know that “we are thinking about your bravery and grateful for your service.”
-Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller