Washington: As the unemployment rate dropped below 5 per cent in January to a eight-year low, President Barack Obama today said the US right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.
“After reaching 10 per cent in 2009, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 4.9 per cent. Even as more Americans join the job market last month. This is the first time that the unemployment rate has dipped below 5 per cent in almost eight years,” Obama told reporters at an impromptu convened new conference at the White House.
Noting that over the past two years, 2014 and 2015, business added more jobs than any time since the 1990s, Obama said this progress is finally starting to translate into bigger paychecks.
“Over the past six months, wages have grown at their fastest rate since the crisis and the policies that I’ll push this year are designed to give workers even more leverage to earn raises and promotions,” he said.
“The United States of America right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays in New Hampshire. I guess you cannot please everybody. That does not mean that we don’t have more work to do,” said the US President.
“There is softness in the global economy. China is going through a transition. Europe’s economy is still slow. A lot of the emerging markets are challenged. So that’s all creating head winds for a lot of US companies who do business overseas. It makes it more difficult for us to sell exports,” Obama said.
Obama is scheduled to present his annual budget to the Congress on Tuesday.
“My budget is going to offer more opportunities for Americans to get the education and job training that they need for a good paying job. It will offer new ideas for benefits and protections that provide folks with a basic sense of security,” he said.
It will create more good paying jobs, not by subsidizing the past, but by investing in the future and that’s why US is going to be placing a big emphasis on clean energy, he stressed.
Private sector solar jobs, for example, are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy and they pay better than average.
“That’s one reason why my budget is going to double our investment in clean energy research and development by the end of the decade,” he added.
“That’s going to help businesses create more jobs faster. It’s going to lower the cost of clean energy faster. It’s going to help renewable power compete with dirty fuels across America in a more effective way,” he said.
Those are some of the steps that are going to make sure the future is even stronger, a future that is worthy of the hard work and determination of the American people, he said.
“The progress we make going from 10 percent down to under 5 percent, that’s a testament to American workers, American businesses and the American people being resilient and sticking to it, and my hope is that rather than hinder their progress, we’re going to continue to help them make progress,” Obama said.