"The economy is now growing. In many sectors we're seeing recovery. But the biggest challenge that we're seeing right now is the fact that unemployment is still way too high all across the country," Obama said at the White House.
"It is my belief that we have all the pieces in place for us to make sure that the 21st century is the American century just like the 20th was. But we're going to have to up our game in this newly competitive world," the president said, adding, "I want this to be an economy that is not simply buying from other people and borrowing to do it."
Addressing the business leaders in attendance, Obama said, "Even as we're working with you to streamline regulations, to reform our tax system … we want to make sure that we're also putting a little pressure on you guys to figure out how do we make sure that the economy is working for everybody."
Obama will meet with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the afternoon.
In the evening, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will host music icons and contemporary artists for "The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House," a concert celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of Motown Records. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden also will attend.
During the day, Michelle Obama will welcome more than 100 students from California, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington to participate in an interactive workshop, "The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown."
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