Obama says recovery will take time, given depth of recession

01 June 2012 19:43  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--President Barack Obama on Friday said that US economic recovery from the 2008-2009 recession would necessarily take time, and he called on Congress to take immediate steps to stimulate jobs growth.

Speaking in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Obama cited the disappointing jobs report issued earlier on Friday, saying that while “the economy is growing, it is not growing as fast as we want”.

In its monthly employment situation report, the Labor Department said that the US unemployment rate edged up to 8.2% in May from April’s 8.1% as the nation added only 69,000 new jobs last month.

That pace of jobs growth was well below the 150,000 workforce expansion that many economists had been expecting, and it marked the fourth straight month of slowing employment gains.

Obama indicated that the recent slow pace of employment growth was to be expected, given the depth of the 2008-2009 recession.

“From the moment we took action to prevent a new depression,” he said, referring to the multi-billion dollar stimulus programme he signed early in his presidency, “we knew it would take time.”

“We believed then and we believe now that if we were willing to act wisely, act boldly and to act together as Americans, we’d come back stronger than ever,” he said.

Addressing roughly 1,700 employees at a Honeywell production facility in Minneapolis, Obama said that “We do have better days ahead”.

He also suggested that part of the slow pace of the US post-recession recovery was caused by the European sovereign debt crisis, ongoing turbulence in the Middle East and still-high US gasoline prices.

“We can’t fully control things that happen in other parts of the world, such as in the Middle East and in Europe, but we can take steps here at home,” he said.

Obama referred to a jobs bill he sent to Congress in September last year, noting that while some parts of the measure had been approved, more needed to be done, including provisions to create employment incentives and to ask wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes.

“I give Congress credit, it has passed a few parts of that proposal, but it has not acted on enough of the other items in that bill, and there’s no excuse for it,” Obama said.

He urged Congress to pass other measures to provide states with funding to re-hire teachers, fire-fighters and police who have been laid off because of tight state budgets and declining local tax revenues.

He also called for stimulus spending to maintain and repair US highways, bridges and runways in order to put construction workers back on the job. 

In addition, he asked for congressional incentives that would allow homeowners to refinance burdensome mortgage loans, and he urged Congress to extend tax credits for green energy projects that otherwise will expire at the end of this year.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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