Tag Archives: jobs

The President and Vice President Meet with Newly Elected Mayors, 12/13/13

The President:

“Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome not only some of the most outstanding mayors in the country, but also folks who are representing incredible cities, world-class cities, that are going to be central to America’s economic growth and progress for years to come.

I’ve always said that mayors don’t have time to be ideological, and they don’t really have time to be partisan, because they, every day, are held accountable for concretely delivering the services that people count on all across the country. And I think it’s for that reason that when we think about mayors, we think about folks who actually get stuff done.

This is an outstanding group of both mayors and mayors-elect, representing some of our largest cities. They have a shared vision of cities as being critical hubs in which we’re creating jobs; bringing businesses; seeing startups develop; making sure that there are pathways, gateways for opportunity for people from the surrounding areas, the surrounding states, the regions, and in many cases, the world, because I think you’ve got a lot of immigrant populations that naturally gravitate towards the diversity and dynamism of the city.

And although we have seen terrific progress in our cities, as we have across the country over the last several years — millions of jobs being created, the housing market starting to recover, businesses investing again, manufacturing making an extraordinary comeback — what we know is we’ve still got a lot of work to do to deliver a vision that we all share, which is an America where if you work hard you can make it.

And what that means is, is that my hope and goal out of this meeting is we immediately set up a strong partnership with all the mayors here and all the mayors who aren’t here where we get a clear sense of what their vision is and how they’re trying to deliver services; how we can make sure that our kids are getting the very best education possible; how we make sure that we are creating the platforms, the infrastructure for jobs to succeed — or jobs to be created and businesses to succeed in these cities; how we make sure our transportation dollars are flowing in a way that maximizes economic development that hopefully reduces congestion and rush-hour traffic — I suspect that’s something that some of you have heard from your constituents about — (laughter) — how we make sure that there’s a strong social safety net there that is not a place where people stay over the long term but rather is a mechanism whereby people who have had some bad luck can get back on their feet and get back into the workforce.

So I’m very much looking forward to the conversation. In the meantime, at the federal level, there’s some things that we can do to help mayors. If we, in fact, can get this budget deal completed and out of the Senate, we can get away for the first time in a couple of years from the constant brinksmanship and crisis governance that we’ve seen up on Capitol Hill that impedes growth and makes businesses and investors less certain about wanting to put their money in. So that would be an important achievement and that’s something the federal government can do to help make.

One element that’s not in this budget that needs to be passed right away is UI — unemployment insurance. You’ve got potentially 1.3 million people who, during Christmastime, are going to lose their unemployment benefits, at a time when it’s still very difficult for a lot of folks to find a job. And that’s not just bad for those individuals and for those families, that’s bad for our economy and that’s bad for our cities, because if they don’t have the money to pay the rent or be able to buy food for their families, that has an impact on demand and businesses and it can have a depressive effect generally. In fact, what we know is the economists have said failing to extend unemployment benefits is going to have a drag on economic growth for next year.

So there are some basic things that we can do just to create a better economic environment for these outstanding mayors. There are some areas — for example, raising the minimum wage — that could have a tremendous boost in a lot of the cities where there are a lot of service workers who get up and do some of the critical work for all of us every single day but oftentimes still find themselves just barely above poverty or, in some cases, below poverty.

So what I want to do is explore ideas with them. We wish them luck. You can see that it’s a diverse group, but what binds them together is a commitment to helping people succeed in this country.

And so I want to congratulate all of them and I’m looking forward to, over the next three years for me, working with them for the benefit of their constituencies. Many of them may end up being around for 20 years and — (laughter) — so they’ll have other Presidents to work with.

But thank you so much for coming in.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/1dyr7qZ

President’s Weekly Address: Honoring America’s Veterans, 11/9/13

The President:

“Hello everyone. Veterans’ Day Weekend is a chance for all of us to say two simple words: “Thank you.” Thank you to that greatest generation who fought island by island across the Pacific, and freed millions from fascism in Europe. Thank you to the heroes who risked everything through the bitter cold of Korea and the stifling heat of Vietnam. And thank you to all the heroes who have served since, most recently our 9/11 Generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that more of them are coming home, we need to serve them as well as they served us. That requires more than a simple “thank you” – especially from those of us who’ve been elected to serve.

I’ve often said that my top priority is growing the economy, creating new jobs, and restoring middle-class security. And a very important part of that is making sure that every veteran has every chance to share in the opportunity he or she has helped defend. In addition to the care and benefits they’ve earned – including good mental health care to stay strong – that means a good job, a good education, and a home to call their own.

If you fight for your country overseas, you should never have to fight for a job when you come home. I’ve made sure the federal government leads by example, and since I took office, we’ve hired about 300,000 veterans to keep serving their country. Our new transition assistance program is helping veterans and their spouses find that new job and plan their career. And I’m going to keep calling on Congress to do the right thing and pass the Veterans Jobs Corps. Put our veterans to work rebuilding America.

Our troops gain unmatched skills while serving in harm’s way. So we’re also doing everything we can to connect more businesses with highly-skilled veterans. More help with job searches. More tools to connect veterans to job openings. More chances to earn licenses and credentials for civilian jobs. And new tax credits for companies that hire veterans and wounded warriors – tax credits which Congress should make permanent.

And America’s businesses have worked with Michelle and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces campaign to help returning heroes find jobs in the private sector. They’ve already hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses, and they’ve committed to hiring over 400,000 more.

We’re also committed to giving today’s veterans and their families the same shot at a great education this country gave my grandfather when he came home from World War II. We’re helping more of them earn their degrees under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. We’ve worked with thousands of schools across the country to set new standards to protect against dishonest recruiting and predatory lending practices that target our veterans. And we’re helping hundreds of community colleges and universities do more to welcome and encourage our veterans on campus.

Thanks to these efforts, and the efforts of the private sector, we’ve made progress getting our vets back to work. But we’ve got a lot more to do. And as more than a million of our troops return to civilian life, we’re going to have to work even harder. Because the skill, dedication, and courage of our troops is unmatched – and when they come home, we all benefit from their efforts to build a stronger America and a brighter future for our kids.

So to all our veterans, on behalf our entire nation, thank you for everything you’ve done and will continue to do for our country. As your Commander-in-Chief, I’m proud of your service, and grateful for your sacrifice. And as long as I’m your President, I will make it my mission to make sure that America has your back, not just on one day or one weekend, but 365 days a year.

Thanks. God bless you, and have a great weekend.”

Remarks by the President Nominating Jason Furman as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, 6/10/13

“It’s now been nearly five years since an economic crisis and a punishing recession came together to cost far too many Americans their jobs, and their homes, and the sense of security that they had built up over time. And by the time I took office, my team and I were facing bubbles that had burst; markets that had cratered; bank after bank on the verge of collapse. And the heartbeat of American manufacturing, our auto industry, was flatlining. And all this meant that hundreds of thousands of Americans were losing their jobs each month. So this was a scary time. And nobody had any idea where the bottom would be.

Four and a half years later, our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 36 months. The American auto industry has come roaring back. We’re producing more of our own energy, we’re consuming less that we import from other countries. Our deficits are shrinking rapidly. The cost of health care is slowing. The housing market is rebounding. People’s retirement savings are growing. The wealth that was lost from that recession has now been recovered.

All of this progress is a testament to the grit and resolve of the American people, most of all. But it’s also due in some measurable way to the incredible dedication of the men and women who helped to engineer America’s response. And two of those people are standing next to me, two very smart economists: Alan Krueger and Jason Furman….

And Alan is driven by the basic bargain at the heart of our economy — the idea that hard work should be rewarded. He’s motivated by the principle that no one who works full-time in the greatest nation on Earth should have to raise their families in poverty or below poverty levels….

I’m also proud to nominate another outstanding economist to take his place. Jason Furman is one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation, don’t take my word for it — you can talk to other economists who know a lot more than I do about it. He’s won the respect and admiration from his peers across the political spectrum. His Ph.D. thesis advisor, Greg Mankiw, chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush. Nobel Prize Winner Joe Stiglitz, on the other side of the economic spectrum, hired Jason to work for the CEA under President Clinton.

After leaving President Clinton’s White House, Jason finished his Ph.D. in economics, quickly acquired a reputation as a world-class scholar and researcher. But public service kept calling, and Jason kept answering that call because he believes deeply in it. So from working at the World Bank on issues of inequality and international finance to developing new proposals to strengthen our health and retirement programs, he helped to shape some of our most important economic policy debates.

…. And over the last five years I’ve come to trust not only his head, but also his heart, because Jason never forgets who it is that we’re fighting for: middle-class families, folks who are working hard to climb their way into the middle class, the next generation.

And when the stakes are highest, there’s no one I’d rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice that helps me to do my job. He understands all sides of an argument, not just one side of it. He’s worked tirelessly on just about every major economic challenge of the past four and a half years, from averting a second depression, to fighting for tax cuts that help millions of working families make ends meet, to creating new incentives for businesses to hire, to reducing our deficits in a balanced way that benefits the middle class….

So a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs, that rewards hard work and responsibility, that’s our North Star. Jason shares that focus. I know Alan shares that passion. And Jason’s new role as the Chairman of the Economic — Council of Economic Advisors, he’ll be working with some of our country’s leading economists, including Jim Stock, who has joined us. And I’m relying on them to provide analysis and recommendations with just one thing in mind: What’s going to do the most good for the most people in this country — not what’s best for a political party, not what’s best for a special interest. I don’t have another election. It’s not what’s best for me — what’s best for our middle class, and everybody who is working hard to get there. That’s what the American people deserve.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/11DtqWe

Remarks by the President on the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, 6/10/13

“Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work. Now, that’s wrong. I don’t want that for Malia and Sasha. I don’t want that for your daughters. I don’t want that to be an example that any child growing up ends up accepting as somehow the norm. I want every child to grow up knowing that a woman’s hard work is valued and rewarded just as much as any man’s.

Now, what’s important to realize also, though, is this is not just an issue of fairness. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue. This is an economic issue. Just last week, a report confirmed what we already know: that women are increasingly the breadwinners for American families. Women are now the primary source of income for nearly 40 percent of American families. Forty percent — almost half.

That’s not something to panic about, or to be afraid about -– that’s a sign of the progress and the strides that we’ve made. But what it does mean is that when more women are bringing home the bacon, they shouldn’t just be getting a little bit of bacon. (Laughter.) If they’re bringing home more of the income and that income is less than a fair share, that means that families have less to get by on for childcare or health care, or gas or groceries. It makes it harder for middle-class families to save and retire. It leaves small businesses with customers who have less money in their pockets — which is not good for the economy. That’s not a good example to set for our sons and daughters, but it’s also not a good recipe for long-term, stable economic growth.

So to anyone who says 77 cents on the dollar sounds pretty close to equal, I say, your math is bad….

That’s why, as Valerie mentioned, I created the first-ever White House Council on Women and Girls, which is working to close that gap….

It’s why I established a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which, by the way, they’re doing at a record rate. And, through education and outreach, they’re also helping employers develop tools to comply with the nation’s equal pay laws on their own. And that’s why, earlier this year, I signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to close that gap for good for its employees. (Applause.) We have to set an example.

It’s also why we’re using the latest technology to help workers get the information they need to figure out if they’re underpaid….

Now is the time for Congress to step up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so women have better tools to fight for equal pay for equal work. (Applause.)

Now is the time for us to encourage more young women to pursue math and science education. Now is the time for us to hire more STEM teachers so all our children are prepared for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of tomorrow.

Now is the time to make sure businesses offer men and women the flexibility to be good employees and good parents. And I really want to commend Deloitte and SumAll, and the CEOs who are with us here today, they are creating exactly the kinds of innovative workplaces that help hard-working Americans thrive, and they’re committed to pay equity. And so when you have a chance to talk to Joe, say thank you. And the CEOs who are out there, if you want a first-class company that is tapping into the talents and resources of all your employees, make sure that you’re putting in place systems so that they all feel like they’re being treated fairly and equally. It’s a simple principle and it’s a powerful one.

And now is the time to make sure that we are putting in place a minimum wage that you can live on — (applause) — because 60 percent of those making the minimum wage are women.

If we do all this — and this will be part of our broader agenda to create good jobs and to strengthen middle-class security, to keep rebuilding an economy that works for everybody, that gives every American the chance to get ahead, no matter who you are or what you look like, or what your last name is and who you love.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/19hFmS1

President’s Weekly Address, 6/1/13: Congress Should Take Action to Continue Growing the Economy

In this week’s address, President Obama says that the economy is moving in the right direction, but there is still more work to do. He called on Congress to act to give every responsible homeowner the chance to save money on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low interest rates, put more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and fix our broken immigration system, so that we can continue to grow our economy and create good middle class jobs.

“Hi, everybody. Over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from an economic crisis and punishing recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and the sense of security they’d worked so hard to build.

And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, our businesses have now created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months.

An auto industry that was flatlining is once again the heartbeat of American manufacturing – with Americans buying more cars than we have in five years.

Within the next few months, we’re projected to begin producing more of our own crude oil at home than we buy from other countries – the first time that’s happened in 16 years.

Deficits that were growing for years are now shrinking at the fastest rate in decades. The rise of health care costs is slowing, too.

And a housing market that was in tatters is showing new signs of real strength. Sales are rising. Foreclosures are declining. Construction is expanding. And home prices that are rising at the fastest rate in nearly seven years are helping a lot of families breathe a lot easier.

Now we need to do more.

This week, my administration announced that we’re extending a program to help more responsible families modify their mortgages so they can stay in their homes.

But to keep our housing market and our economy growing, Congress needs to step up and do its part. Members of Congress will be coming back next week for an important month of work. We’ve got to keep this progress going until middle-class families start regaining that sense of security. And we can’t let partisan politics get in the way.

Congress should pass a law giving every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low interest rates.

Congress should put more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, like the one that collapsed last week in Washington state. We’d all be safer, and the unemployment rate would fall faster.

And Congress should fix our broken immigration system by passing commonsense reform that continues to strengthen our borders; holds employers accountable; provides a pathway to earned citizenship; and also modernizes our legal immigration system so that we’re reuniting families and attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help our economy grow.

So there are a lot of reasons to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country – especially after all we’ve fought through together. We’ve just got to keep going. Because we’ve got more good jobs to create. We’ve got more kids to educate. We’ve got more doors of opportunity to open for anyone who’s willing to work hard enough to walk through those doors.

And if we work together, I’m as confident as I’ve ever been that we’ll get to where we need to be.

Thanks and have a great weekend.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/15nT2H4

West Wing Week: 05/24/13 or “Justice for Everybody”

This week, the President continued his Jobs and Opportunity tour, this time highlighting bold new efforts in education and manufacturing in Baltimore, gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, invited the President of Myanmar, eight immigration reform advocates and DREAMers themselves, and Gershwin Prize winner Carole King and friends to the White House and delivered a major counter-terrorism speech at the National Defense University.

Weekly Address: The President Talks About How to Build a Rising, Thriving Middle Class, 5/18/13

President Obama talks about his belief that a rising, thriving middle class is the true engine of economic growth, and that to reignite that engine and continue to build on the progress we’ve made over the last four years, we need to invest in three areas: jobs, skills and opportunity.

“More than anything, the American people make me optimistic about where we’re headed as a nation. Especially after all we’ve been through the past several years. And that should encourage us to work even harder on the issues that matter to you.

In a little over three years, our businesses have created more than 6.5 million new jobs. And while our unemployment rate is still too high, it’s the lowest it’s been since 2008. But now we need to create even more good, middle-class jobs, and we need to do it faster.

Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs. But now we need to get middle-class wages and incomes rising too.

Our housing market is healing. But we still need to help a lot more families stay in their homes, or refinance to take advantage of historically low rates.

And our deficits are shrinking at the fastest rate in decades. But now we need to budget in a smarter way that doesn’t hurt middle-class families or harm critical investments in our future.

So in a lot of sectors, things are looking up. The American auto industry is thriving. American energy is booming. And American ingenuity in our tech sector has the potential to change the way we do almost everything.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/19JA79I