ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
While welcoming this morning’s better-than-expected jobs report, President Obama today said the economy is still not producing enough jobs and assured the American people that “things will get better.”
“While this marks the 17th month in a row of job growth in the private sector, nearly two and a half million new private sector jobs in all, we have to create more jobs than that each month to make up for the more than 8 million jobs that the recession claimed,” the president said in a speech at the Washington Navy Yard.
The Labor Department announced this morning that the economy added 117,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate inched down to 9.1 percent.
Continuing his jobs push, the president promised “we are going to get through this. Things will get better. And we’re going to get there together.”
“My singular focus, is the American people — getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages, rebuilding that sense of security the middle class has felt slipping away for years and helping them recovery fully, as families and as communities, from the worst recession that any of us have ever seen,” he said.
Once again, the president urged Congress to act on stalled measures that he said would spur job growth, including extending the payroll tax credit, investing in infrastructure and extending unemployment insurance.
“Those are all steps that we can take right now that will make a difference, and there's no contradiction between us taking some steps to put people to work right now and getting our long-term fiscal house in order. In fact, the more we grow, the easier it will be to reduce our deficits,” he said.
Looking back at the debate to raise the debt ceiling, Obama said the compromise was “important in terms of putting us on sounder fiscal footing,” but admitted that the “process was divisive. It was delayed.”
“If we want our businesses to have the confidence they need to get cash off the sidelines, and invest and hire, then we've got to do better than that. We've got to be able to work together to grow the economy right now and strengthen our long-term finances,” he said. “That's what the American people expect of us — leaders that can put aside our differences to meet our challenges.”