December 4th, 2009
01:10 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama: Jobs news 'modestly encouraging'


Schnecksville, Pennsylvania (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Friday praised the latest jobs figures that show a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate from 10.2 percent to 10 percent in November.

"I want to do something I haven't had a chance to do that often during my first year in office, and that is to share some modestly encouraging news on our economy," he told a crowd composed largely of students from Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Official remarks released in advance by the White House did not include the word "modestly."

Noting that the latest jobs report is the country's best since December 2007 - which economists say marked the start of the recession - the president added, "This is good news, just in time for the season of hope."

But he added that "we still have a long way to go," and that one job lost is "one job too many."

"The journey from here will not be without setbacks or struggles," the president said. "But the direction is clear. When you think about how this year began, today's report is a welcome sign that there are better days ahead."

In an exchange that drew laughter from the crowd, Obama took a question from a second-year student who said he has been studying criminology.

"I was wondering if, maybe, if you checked out some of the statistics about legalizing prostitution, gambling, drugs and non-violent crime in order to stimulate some of the economy," the second-year student said.

"That will not be my jobs strategy," Obama responded, smiling.

But he praised the "boldness" of the question. "Part of what you're supposed to do in college is question conventional wisdom. And so you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing, which is, you know, thinking in new ways about things," he said.

The president then launched into an extensive explanation of his view on jobs and the shape of the U.S. economy.


Filed under: Jobs • President Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. B

    At least we are moving in the right direction instead of backwards as we were with- The Moron- for eight long years!

    December 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Mike In Fairfax

    While I wish it weren't true.. and that this really were newsworthy and something to get excited about.. unemployment goes down every November after many of the unemployed are no longer seeking jobs... but are students. Let's see what it does in May and June... that will mean something. And I HOPE it goes down then too.

    December 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Greg, MN

    Heres some notes from your Jobs Summit. Cut taxes on businesses it worked in the 80's and even Clinton benefited in the 90's.

    Don't saddle businesses with Cap and Trade. It makes the US non competitive in world trade. It increases costs of production, transportation, and inputs. With NO clear benefit, especially since we now know non-supportive data was destroyed.

    Don't saddle businesses with taxes on health care for employees. Don't increases mandates and hoops for employer offered health plans. Increasing employee costs does not encourage job growth.

    Basically, Mr. President dump your agenda and let the free enterprise system run its course. In the words of Al Gore, "The debate is over, the evidence is undisputable" government intervention in a business downturn only prolongs the suffering. History and econimists agree FDR might have softened the acute pain of the Depression but he made the systemic pain last about three times longer than it should. learn from history.

    December 4, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. mjm

    "the president added, "This is good news, just in time for the season of hope." "

    AKA...seasonal help and not real growth.

    December 4, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Larry Gemmell

    Harry Reid's comment to reporters, "ask Tiger Woods" shows the lack of class Mr. Reid has. His willingness to envoke a person going through a very difficult time and not involved in the questionable business of politics for the purpose of deflecting questions from reports is appauling. This comment confirms to me that Mr. Reid does not deserve to be in a leadership position. I expect and the country deserve better. I believe the sign on Harry Truman's desk should be Mr. Reid's motto, "the buck stops here".

    December 4, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Bedtime for Obonzo

    "One job lost is one job too many"? With that kind of thinking, we'd all be enjoying the fruits of a preindustrial economy, down on the farm. Speaking of which, here's another good way to achieve full employment - ban the use of machinery in farming. That would make us all busy.

    December 4, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Chicago Mob

    If anything good at all happens Obama will be there to tell us about how he played a key roll. Why does he then not take credit for the increase in unemployment caused by his policies. Businesses are hesitant about attempting to expand or hire new employees because they are afraid of what our Marxist in chief will do next. Dems have done nothing to help or reassure small business. Tax increases, cap and trade and health care may very well make it more difficult for businesses to survive. Obama now is puttting on this act about, oh gosh what can we do to create jobs? This just proves how disengenuous he is. He does not want the economy to flourish because he thinks capitalism and profit are evil.

    December 4, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. ICARE

    If you want the economy to grow, make gasoline 1.02/gallon. In 1997, it costed me $40/month for gasoline. Today it cost me $200.00. I can really use that 160 toward growing the economy and so can the other 300 million americans, to buy goods!!!!

    December 4, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. wait a minute

    Passing Public Option will help create more jobs by small businesses. They can afford to hire more workers when they can afford health care premiums.

    December 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. gt

    WHAT STATE ?...WHAT CITY ? WHAT TYPE OF JOBS?

    December 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Barack reads his lies, Gov't grows, Unions Thrive and the Economy dies.

    How does bankrupting us and going over the projected 8% unemployment if we didn't do the stupulous stimulous plan in any way encouraging to this generation and generations to come that will burden with the debt?

    Question: Why has unemployment dipped a little during this time of year?

    Answer: Dah, temporary workers being hired for Chrismas.

    Let's see how our January numbers look boys and girls.

    December 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. mjm

    "I was wondering if, maybe, if you checked out some of the statistics about legalizing prostitution, gambling, drugs and non-violent crime in order to stimulate some of the economy," the second-year student said"

    They did....It was called the Clinton Admin.

    By question conventional wisdom, do you mean spending 3 trillion in 9 months?

    Let's see how "trickle down taxes" work for the economy.

    December 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. single mom

    How can he call it even 'moderately encouraging'? The rate is still double digit and another ten thousand became unemployed. Which, to my math, I'm not sure how the rate could have gone down in the first place!
    And spending nearly six figures to create one job the way the 'stimulus' has? Does that really make sense to anyone?

    December 4, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. diridi

    i am glad economy is turning around...clear...when i flew yesterday, air lines treated me real good...they even gave snack, and drinks etc., they were extra curteous.....ok, it is a clear-cut evidence....jobs are coming back....well, total 8 years of mess by the nasty idiots...GOP guys...

    December 4, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Matt in UT

    If there is any good news, it's no thanks to Obama.

    I own a small business that has hired during the last 3 months. Because of the Obama's anti-business policies, I've been reluctant to expand. This week I found out that our business taxes have gone up. What are our representatives (not leaders) thinking?

    December 4, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. S M R

    Thank You President Obama.

    December 4, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Chicago Mob

    Reading these blogs I see a whole lot of people that want to blame the republicans for our present economic crisis to protect their boy Obama. The fact is the dems took over both houses in 2006. Also the community reinvestment act, which facilitated wholesale mortgage lending to people who could not afford to pay them back was a darling of the democrats. The repubs tried to curtail these practices but were voted down by the democratic majority. Under the watchful eye of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd Fannie and Freddie needed a bailout and helped cause the economic downturn. You would think these people would know the history so they could attribute the proper responsibility to the dems for their part. Oh, I'm sorry these folks probably get their news from CNN so they wouldn't know the truth.

    December 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Hammerer

    Can I use their math method when I file my income tax? I made $500k last year and this year it has dropped to about $250k. That means that I lost $250k and should get a refund of my losses. Right?

    December 4, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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