Obama: Jobless rate 'modestly encouraging'

Dec. 4, 2009 at 2:32 PM
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ALLENTOWN, Pa., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama, in Allentown, Pa., Friday on a listening tour about jobs creation, said the latest dip in unemployment was a good step, but only a step.

"The unemployment rate ticked down instead of up," Obama said during an address at Lehigh Carbon Community College in nearby Schnecksville, Pa., calling it "modestly encouraging" news.

Besides the drop in the unemployment rate from 10.2 percent in October to 10 percent in November, Obama said the nation lost 11,000 jobs last month, about 115,000 fewer than predicted.

"This is good news ... in this season of hope," Obama said. "But I do want to keep this in perspective. We have a long way to go ... Good trends don't pay the rent."

Obama was in the Allentown area as part of his Washington to Main Street tour to discuss ways to stimulate job creation and economic growth.

"We need to do everything we can right now to get businesses hiring again," Obama said.

Speaking about Thursday's job forum at the White House, Obama said he and his economic advisers talked with business, labor, academic and non-profit leaders about investments in clean energy jobs, incentives for homeowners and investments in infrastructure construction as ways to goose the economy and jobs.

"We've got to face up to challenges (so we can) strengthen the economy in long-term," the president said.

With an eye toward long-term economic improvement, Obama said he pursued reforms in healthcare and education, as well as environmental and climate change legislation.

"I'm committed to bringing down the federal deficit," he added.

He also promoted Tuesday's big speech on the economy.

"I'm going to speak in greater detail about the ideas I'll be sending to Congress to help jump start private sector hiring and get Americans back to work," he said.

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