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Obama welcomes jobs report as rare good news

 President Barack Obama talks about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
 President Barack Obama gestures while talking about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Bra...
 President Barack Obama talks about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
 President Barack Obama shakes hands as he enter to talk about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Phot...

Obama

President Barack Obama talks about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Obama

President Barack Obama gestures while talking about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Bra...

Obama

President Barack Obama talks about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Obama

President Barack Obama shakes hands as he enter to talk about jobs during a forum at Celgard, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Friday, April 2, 2010. (AP Phot...

President Barack Obama took to the road Friday to push his administration's plans to create jobs, a crucial campaign issue for Democrats as they look toward November's congressional elections.
Obama spoke Friday at a North Carolina company that has hired new workers and expanded its operations with grants from the economic stimulus program. Obama's team wants to marry much-needed job creation with the politically sour stimulus, hoping that will help Democrats gain favor with voters after a bruising, yearlong battle with Republicans over health care.
The president hailed a new government report showing the largest job creation number in nearly three years. "We are beginning to turn the corner," he told employees of a manufacturing plant that received government stimulus money.
"We've broken this slide," Obama said several hours after the Labor Department reported businesses adding 162,000 jobs to their payrolls in March. He said the new figures point the way toward "helping us climb out of this recession," the deepest in 80 years.
Yet, the positive news reported by the government was tempered by some sobering statistics. For instance, many of the 162,000 new jobs went to temporary Census workers. And more than 40 percent of those without jobs have been unemployed for more than six months. Since the recession began in December 2007, some 8.4 million have lost their jobs.
"We shouldn't underestimate the difficulties we face," Obama said. "We're still going through a hard time."
Obama told workers at a plant that makes high-tech battery components that his aggressive _ if unpopular _ policies helped add jobs. He spoke at the Celgard LLC factory, which received a $49 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department last August.
The president said the grant was creating nearly 300 direct jobs for the company and more than 1,000 jobs for its contractors and suppliers. He also pledged that a new emphasis on oil and gas drilling will not undercut alternative energy work.
"I've often had to report bad news during the course of this year as the recession wreaked havoc on people's lives," Obama said. "Today is an encouraging day. The economy actually produced a substantial number of jobs instead of losing a substantial number of jobs."
Republicans have created a steady drumbeat of criticism of Obama's stewardship of the economy and against his health care victory in the hopes voters blame Obama at the ballot box in November. Democrats currently have a majority in both chambers of Congress.
"If President Obama were serious about job creation, he would be spending less time on the campaign stump trying to sell Americans on a health care bill they don't like and can't afford and more time focusing on putting our nation back to work," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Katie Wright said.


Updated : 2021-06-16 18:26 GMT+08:00