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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Use the rest of the TARP funds and give it t small business.

    November 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    That's just "convince the public" rhetoric, with absolutely no basis in fact.

    November 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Proud Member..Party of No

    Support for the health care plan proposed by the President and Congressional Democrats has fallen to a new low of 38%. Sixty percent (60%) of voters believe passage of the bill will lead to higher health care costs.

    November 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Steph

    The DOW hit a 13 month high today. Apparently those crazy capitalists on Wall St like socialism. By the way, all that hope and change is working out quite well, thank you very much!

    November 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Steph

    I think the economy would turn around much faster if 20% of our population would get involved in fixing what W broke instead of protesting "failed policies" that are actually working. Tea-bagging will not help create new jobs...contrary to what Rush told you.

    November 23, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Mike in LR

    Any growth from government subsidy will be temporary and feeble. 17.5% unemployment is despicable. BO fails at every turn.

    November 23, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Tim

    And on a related note, Obama has asked Sara Palin to refrain from making comments about the economy, out of fear of political grandstanding against President Barack Obama.

    Did you see the news that the Army asked Palin to not speek at Fort Bragg out of fear that there would be political granstandting against Obama? First, our soldiers are professionals. I know Obama can't acknowledge that, but they are. Second, why would they need to grandstand against Obama? Third, grandstanding would not make a good photo-op for Obama.

    Thanks for the change, folks.

    November 23, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. terry,va

    What planet are you on Obummie? You are about to have a civil war with all the proposed taxes your socialist government is supporting. Taxes on a health care bill that is out of control. Giving 300 million tax dollars to a crooked Senator street walker from LA for her vote. Getting ready to tax people to fund the war in Afghan. Quit spending money you don't have Obummie. Quit stealing from us or you will get a war in your own country. What part of get your hands out of my pocket don't you understand?

    November 23, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Doug

    President Obama said he is blessed to have his ivy league administration that is doing better than everybody else. As a democrat, I am having a bad year after getting him in the white house.
    They are the problem, he says we are helping millions by failing to read bills and changing his policies. Keep dropping the ball and see what the millions think about your country club presidentcy.

    November 23, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Thank you, George Bush, for getting this economy back on track.

    Oh, wait - Bush gets blamed for all the bad, Obama gets credit for all the good.

    November 23, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. darahs

    Obama: US economy has 'core strengths' (AP)

    This is what McCain told in the campaign and candidate Obama bashed him and now he uses the same terms and media is letting him go easy.

    November 23, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. dwayne

    Great Job- President Obama

    November 23, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |

    AMERICA: YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL have a prosperous future.

    All you that chide Barack and continually diss him just don't get it. This is a guy who knows how it feels to be poor and he knows what to do to fix that problem.

    I have confidence in my president. I hope you all do too.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    November 23, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Gop

    Any Intelligent person will tell you the economy is no better then it was when things started getting bad.

    I guess if Obama and his state controlled media reports things are looking up then they hope you liberal dim-wits believe them.

    Someone in another post said ‘Health care reform is all about giving the consumer a CHOICE’

    How is forcing people to buy insurance they may not need or want called giving them a choice? And if it’s a choice then why is it in the bill you must have healthcare and if not you can be fined $250,000 and spend 5 years in prison? If that’s my choice then it might be time to leave this country I love.

    I hope every one of wealth gets to the point they are tired of paying out money they had to earn just so Obama and his party can give it always in Government programs that they believe will buy them votes.

    Then when these wealthy people leave the country who will Obama and his party steal money from in order to give you lazy folks your free ride.

    November 23, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. buckwheat

    Things tend to turn over just before they croak and the economy is the same.

    November 23, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Fed Up

    Yeah, whatever. Companies are still laying people off in droves. Unemployment is no longer available for many unemployed because their claims are no longer renewable, but the economy is getting better. Oh, I forgot. The banks are making out like bandits!

    November 23, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. WIlly Brown

    Who's he trying to kid, CNN ?

    November 23, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Rob

    Keep telling yourself that enough times and you may begin to believe it. Don't take a step out into REAL America though Obumbles, cuz then you'll find out just how bad you're screwing up this economy, and just how much people DO NOT want this disgraceful joke of a thing called "healthcare reform" you are trying to ram down our throats.

    November 23, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. mjm

    "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."

    Wait until you see how they get by after this socialized health care bill passes. More job cuts are on the way.

    As long as their payroll is below a certain point, or their income is low enough, you can avoid the new taxes that come with the Pelosi and Reid bill.

    All they need to do is cut jobs to avoid the health care tax.

    That’s why "trickle down taxes" never work.

    November 23, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Kevin in Ohio

    The economoy is growing?????????????? I don't think so. Unless he is comparing it to the shrinking dollar. We are in trouble,folks, and if we don't do something about the people in power, its our own fault.

    November 23, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Mix

    Great, and as soon as the ill conceived "Health Care Reform" gets passed.....BAM! Back to the stone age...

    November 23, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The economy is growing again dispite all the odds against our President because he is a President for the people and for that reason he works hard for all of us and not a party.

    November 23, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Mark

    The people that are saying the economy is no better are wrong and are simply saying it because of their own personal feelings for Obama and the democrats. You are part of the problem and I'm sure you're a republican. Why don't the republican work with the democrats? It's obvious the republicans aren't serious about health care reform. You must debate it, don't you know that? Get over your own insecurities and do something to actually help. Otherwise, abolish the republicans since you aren't doing anything anyway.

    November 23, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Has anyone else read Brave New World? Isn't it GOOD to require less labor to produce the same amount? (see paragraphs 5&6 above)

    It seems dumb to get more jobs by making things less efficient (i.e. socialism)

    November 23, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. gwen

    Fed Up you need to get the facts – job loses have slowed dramatically, manufacturing is up for the first time in 18 months, factories are starting to add to their inventories, the GDP was up for the first time in months – give Obama a break, he can't turn around the mess bush and the repubs left him in 1 year – everyone knows that jobs are the last to rebound, and by the way many of the banks have repayed the money the government loaned them to recover – repaid with interest I might add!!

    November 23, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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