November 23rd, 2009
04:57 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama: Economy turning, but much more progress needed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The president spoke about the economy during a Cabinet meeting Monday."]
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama cited progress toward economic recovery Monday, but said the pace remained slower than desired.

Speaking to reporters after his first Cabinet meeting since returning from last week's trip to Asia, Obama made clear that reversing the rising unemployment of the past year is the goal of his administration's economic recovery efforts.

"Our economy's growing again, for the first time in more than a year, and we know that economic growth is a prerequisite for job growth," Obama said. "But having said that, what I emphasize today is we cannot sit back and be satisfied, given the extraordinarily high unemployment levels that we've seen."

He called any progress so far "the first step in curing our economy and making sure that it is moving on the right track."

Business profits are rising, Obama said, but due to cost-cutting from the recession rather than increased demand.

"They have learned to produce the same amount of goods with fewer people," Obama said, adding that "all of these things contribute to challenges of creating jobs in this economy."

While the economy grew last quarter for the first time in a year and other indicators are turning positive, unemployment is above 10 percent and polls indicate most Americans are dissatisfied with current economic conditions.

Obama expressed confidence the economy will continue to strengthen and begin creating jobs, but he said the country needs policies now to "bridge" the period from the current difficulties to "that more prosperous future."

On his trip to Asia, Obama said, he discussed ways to increase U.S. exports to the region. Asian governments want more U.S. exports to help meet rising consumer demand in their growing economies, he said.

"If we can just increase our exports by 5 percent in that region, that means hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs," Obama said. However, he cited regulatory issues and currency issues as obstacles to increased exports, adding that "we just haven't been as aggressive as we need to be."

At home, Obama said, polices to revamp infrastructure for a modern economy - including high-speed rail transport and clean energy technology - will help put people back to work. Those ideas and others will be discussed at the December 3 jobs summit he is holding in Washington, Obama said.

The president also acknowledged that at Thanksgiving, it's been a "very difficult year" for many Americans. Referring to his Cabinet sitting with him, he said: "We are extraordinarily blessed that we're in a position that we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people."

"We need to take advantage of that opportunity and redouble our efforts in the months and years to come," Obama said.

Filed under: Economy • Obama administration • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. M. Felder

    We have to think outside the box. A lot of these corporations who were taking welfare from the government in the form of credit to hire people are beginning to realize that it makes no sense to do so. Businesses should hire people based on demand, not in order to receive a tax credit. We live in a paper economy and we have to think differently. Please explain to me how a HVAC company who is not selling air conditioning or heating components, will benefit by hiring more employees. If there is no demand for air conditioning and heating then there is no need to have 20 employees sitting around the office doing nothing.

    November 23, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Keith in Austin

    The really sorry thing is that if Obozo said bananas are purple, most koolaid drinking liberal sheep would believe him. Sooooo pitiful!

    November 23, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    How can anyone with a soul deny anyone the chance in recieving healthcare? I am sorry to say this, but if Jesus were alive right now, he would be considered a liberal. He wants a healthcare system that is non-profit.Human life is worth a lot more than any size profit. He wants everyone to be treated equal, no matter who they are. Remember the part about him inviting everyone to his table. He would want Wall Street regulated. Remember the incident at the temple, don't make this guy mad. He would love anyone based on what there heart is, not the color of his skin. He would not reject anyone because they did not agree with him. Jesus said that everyone has free will, including women. If he were alive right now, would you be saying the same things to him that you are saying to President Obama? Jesus would support the most "liberal" idea of all, Single Payer non profit system.

    November 23, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. Ted

    How can Obama vilify ""They have learned to produce the same amount of goods with fewer people," ????

    That is called improving efficiency and how businesses grow and become more competitive vs. foreign threats to our jobs and sales.

    The facts and data reveal the economy is going nowehere, and it will continue sputtering for all of Obama's presidency, because he has positively no clue how businesses work.

    November 23, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. David in Houston

    Anyone who says things are not better doesn't remember how the entire WORLDWIDE economy almost collapsed. Granted, many are still unemployed, but I challenge anyone to prove that the economy is not improving! My money guy called today and said all my portfolio is back to the August 09 levels - I think that is a very good sign. I am far from rich, and struggling like everyone, but the extreme conditions that existed when Obama took office should not be forgotten, or minimalized.

    November 23, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Oh,oh! obama is starting to believe his own lies now.

    November 23, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. payback

    ....Listen when FDR was President. The economy, did not turn around in one year or two years. What, makes you think. President Obama. Can turn things, completely around in one year....Get real, you RIGHT-WING-NUTS..........Can you republicans, turn things around in one year or less? I THINK NOT......GET REAL...............

    November 23, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. JR

    Give money to regular people who actually cannot spend because of lack of money.
    They will spend as they can. It will boost the production, which means more hiring in order to meet the production expectations.
    It is so simple.
    You can give $1 billion to every small business, no one would hire one more employee if the production still the same.

    November 23, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. jobs, we need jobs, no not statistics, just jobs

    fire all those economists, statisticians

    give the money to small business

    November 23, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. WrongKindofChange

    Obama needs to know that the economy isn't growing but inflation is. Someone tell him he can't buy his way out of everything and the more he tries the worse off our economy is going to be.

    November 23, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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