December 4th, 2009
01:10 PM ET
9 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. Shirley In California

    Well done, Mr. President.

    December 4, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I loved that student's question! And I liked the President's response. In particular the part about thiniking 'outside the box'. The Prez comes across as receptive to all types of input, which is why I cannot understand why the GOP and it's few supporters (maybe just one supporter with 23 different names!) will not submit their braintrust ideas. The very same that they talk to everyone about having EXCEPT to the President. What is that about? As if we did'nt know. Meanhwile, he's pretty much going at it alone. And doing very well, thank you. Loving the change. Thank you President Obama.

    December 4, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Tina

    Big deal. The REAL rate is still around 17-20%.

    December 4, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. JS007

    The GOP better start co-operating with Obama if they want to get any credit for the recovery. If we followed their policies of NO stimulus, NO health care, NO green energy jobs we'd now be in a repeat of the Great Depression. They, Lieberman, and the "blue dogs" need to be added to the list of the jobless in the next election.

    December 4, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. benvictor

    While 11,000 jobs lost in November seems promising, this is a net of losses and gains. For November, I believe many temporary jobs were created to take advantage of Black Friday etc. It would be revealing to know, however, how many permanent good jobs were actually lost. I suspect that those temporary jobs will be shed to cut costs as soon as retailers realize there is no consumer rush to buy anything. The December numbers will be more revealing when these jobs are shed. January, too, ought to be more telling on what is actually happening.

    December 4, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. I am the not-so-great and powerless wizard of Rush

    Aetna just announced that its profits in 2009 weren't enough, so they are cutting 600,000 from their rolls in 2010 so they can increase their profit margin.

    Now do you see why we need a stong public option?

    December 4, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Jay1975

    Yeah, seasonal hires that will lose their jobs in a month or so is really just what we need.

    December 4, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. chris l

    10.2 to 10%. WOW. Thank god for the stimulus? We are saved! Hooray. LIBTARDS ARE DOOMED IN 2010. As far as 2012, The republicans could run an old beer can and win.

    December 4, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. JohnKansas

    Obama thinks losing "only" 11,000 jobs is "modestly encouraging." Ovomit!

    December 4, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    At this stage, 'modestly encouraging' is not all that bad, considering the republicans have undermined efforts to help Americans, and lied every step of the way. Sorry, I forgot that Boner spent $83,000 on golf, and that is sure to trickle down to the economy right away.

    December 4, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. File under "Sarcasm"

    Mr Photo-op strikes again. Give the man some students or soldiers to stand in front of and a teleprompter and turn on those camera's. (He got both on Tuesday for his Afghanistan speech but put half of them to sleep.)

    Yesterday, President Obama held his touted job summit. The only ones invited were those who support his policies and even then he could only spare enough time for photo-ops at the beginning and end of the session. I wonder what he was working on the rest of the day; healthcare, or cap and trade, or card check, or maybe discussing holiday parties with his Chicago socialite social secretary who is too busy attending the parties to check the guest lists.

    December 4, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. I support the President

    "Noting that the latest jobs report is the country's best since December 2007 – which economists say marked the start of the recession"

    A fact that I have not heard one Republican admit to. The recession started while George w. Bush was president and continued for a full year WHILE George W. Bush was president and yet, he and his party did NOTHING to help bring it under control until it became a crisis right before he left office. Yet this same party, the Republicans, have done NOTHING except criticize everything President Obama has done for the past year to help the economy. Not only are Republicans the ulitmate in hypocrites; they are liars who try to re-write history to make their party look less culpable for the dire economic situation we find ourselves in now. I really can not understand why any middle class American would vote for a Republican for any public office.

    December 4, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. proud of my president

    GO BAMA!!!

    December 4, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Remember Rush Limbaugh's words "I want him to fail" and a few other Republicans joined his comments. President Obama is working hard for the American people while we paid GWB to do nothing but create this mess. Support our President because we face many more challenges in the future that he understands far beyond war.

    December 4, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Jon Gradie

    That's it, Obama, encurage silly college students to think up anything, but nevermind adding that they need to keep morality, criminality, etc, in mind, too. The liberal way.....anything goes!

    December 4, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Bpin

    What? For who? BHO loves to pick at the unemployed. Then, the rock star gets in front of his groupies in Penn. and talks about how we are going to increase jobs through infastructure projects. How long does it take to build a bridge? US citizens want jobs that are going to last, ones they can depend on. BHO is lost. He has so much going on, especially things that are insignificant to the people that are looking where their supper is comming from tonight, he cannot even keep up with the details. Pitiful leadership.

    December 4, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. WIlly Brown

    Since most un employment office were closed for 2 plus more days in November for Thanksgiving then yes the figures would show a slight drop in claims filed as it will in December for the holidays. Smoke and mirror Obummer smoke and mirrors.

    December 4, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Nick Ernacker

    "Well, .2% decrease in unemployment, my job here is done. Back to giving trillions to my bankster buddies I go!"

    December 4, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Bugl3t

    I've felt that the economy was slowing improving because more freelance web development work was coming my way at a time (winter) when typically, it would be slowing down because of the holiday season.

    Don't get me wrong, it's still scary out there... but it seems to be improving... and my work isn't one tied to the shopping season - just the opposite, in fact.

    I applaud President Obama's effort but will say that I'd rather see:

    1) single-payer health care system
    2) get out of Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire Middle East
    3) focus an EXTREME effort on building green jobs through a massive investment in alternative energy and infrastructure to completely wean this country from our dependence on foreign oil sources.

    If asked right now, I would re-elect Obama in 2012. I am proud of having a thinking, intelligent, CARING President.

    December 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. gary

    The President is really doing a good job considering the deep ditch the bus was driven into. With Obama's steady hand at the wheel , with Democrats pushing and pulling on the bus it is coming out of the ditch.. All the while the Republicans are sitting on the bus drinking tea and complaining that Obama and the Democrats are not doing it right.

    December 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. aware

    America does not believe you big O – zero! :(

    December 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Gus

    Obama is finally delivering after Bush screwed everything up.

    December 4, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Kevin B

    The economy will eventually turn around and it will happen soon, unfortunately americans have become so clueless, partisan and ingrateful, that america will be stuck in soul less and angy recovery for years to come.

    December 4, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. karen

    Obama just keep on doing what you are doing...keep on fighting.

    Americans are a bunch of whinny, impatient brats and cannot see the long future so forget their whines and keep on making the tough decisions regardless if they see it is for their benefit or not.

    may god keep you in his light.......

    December 4, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. clr

    What a joke... the .2 is the seasonal Xmas jobs in play for the next month or so. Those guys will be unemployed again in January.

    This bozo is just grasping for straws right now, and it is obvious.

    December 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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