WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling 2014 "a year of action" for creating jobs and economic opportunities for American families.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says the first step is for Congress to extend unemployment insurance for those without work.
The president also points to a new initiative to boost high-tech manufacturing and other steps he plans to announce next week to put people back to work.
Obama's message comes after the government reported just 74,000 new jobs in December and a dip in unemployment that's fueled by people giving up their search for work.Read the full text from the president's weekly address below. Or, watch his remarks above (via The White House)
Hi, everybody. Yesterday, we learned that in 2013, our businesses created 2.2 million new jobs – including 87,000 last month. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since October 2008. And across our broader economy, there are signs of progress. Our manufacturing and housing sectors are rebounding. Our energy, technology, and auto sectors are booming. Thanks in part to the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, health care costs now eat up less of our economy – over the past four years, costs have grown at the slowest rate on record. And since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.
Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, our economy is growing stronger. But we know we’ve got more work to do together. Our success as a country depends on more than the success of our broader economy – it depends on the success of the American people. It depends on your ability to make ends meet, provide for your families, and, with a little hard work, feel like you can get ahead.
So we’ve got to keep our economy growing, and make sure more Americans have the opportunity to share in that growth. We’ve got to keep creating jobs that offer new opportunity, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let you rebuild some security. We’ve got more kids to educate, and families to get covered with health insurance, and an immigration system to fix. And we’ve got to make sure this recovery leaves no one behind.
This will be a year of action. I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part. And that action should begin by extending unemployment insurance for Americans who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own. This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job. And it demands responsibility in return by requiring that they prove they’re actively looking for work. But Republicans in Congress just let that lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. And if this doesn’t get fixed, it will actually hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year. Earlier this week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate took the first steps toward making this right. But Congress needs to finish the job right away. More than one million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away.
Working folks are looking for the kind of stable, secure jobs that went overseas in the past couple decades. So next week, I’ll join companies and colleges and take action to boost the high-tech manufacturing that attracts the kind of good new jobs a growing middle class requires.
Business owners are ready to play their part and hire more workers. So next week, I’ll be joined by college presidents as we lay out specific steps we can take to help more workers earn the skills they need for today’s new jobs. Later this month I’ll host CEOs at the White House to announce commitments we’re making to put more of the long-term unemployed back to work.
And at the end of the month, in my State of the Union Address, I will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success. As Americans, that’s what we should expect. And after everything you’ve done to recover and rebuild from crisis these past five years – after all your hard work and sacrifice – that’s what you deserve.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.