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. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And if he had not taken that 800 BILLION dollars (which we didn't have) and flushed it down the toilet, putting us even deeper in debt and further weakening the dollar, we would probably be doing much better. ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES, PEOPLE!

    November 23, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. gwen

    tim I'm sure an intelligent man like President Obama could care less about what sarah palin does or doesn't say – Obama can handle his own against sarah palin and her teabaggers and he has proven it again and again – lets see who won in 2008??!!?? As far as our military – Obama is so supportive – supportive enough to care if they give their life for a meaningful reason – unlike Bush and Cheney who sent them off to a war with out armour or an exit strategy – of course the 2 draft dodgers didn't really care!!

    November 23, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |

    ...good words, Mr. President. As long as we all, as a nation, keep working hard and pressing on, we'll succeed in all that we need to change in the country.

    "Positivity, not negativity." – A Tribe Called Quest.

    November 23, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. catmom

    Just curious, what would it take to make you naysayers see improvements? Are you expecting to wake up one day and all of Americas problems are gone? It took Bush and Republicans eight years to screw the country up. It seems that you people are the ones that think Obama can wave a magic wand and just like that Bush's failures are gone. Most Americans know that it will take time for our country to get back to where it was before George Bush. Small steps in the right direction. Try giving credit where credit is due.

    November 23, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. hereslauphinatcha

    I don't care what the repubs or the gop's say about our President Obama...he's realistic about our country's turnabout for the better. It was a lot worst when the repubs an gop's were in charge.

    November 23, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Roy

    The Economy will not recover in the long term until Americans are put back to work. We have a real unemployment rate approaching 19 percent (when you include underemployed part timers and people who have given up looking)

    This is getting Great Depression like. We are in the middle of a W shaped recovery, and the second drop is coming.

    False hope.

    We arent stable yet. We need JOBS.

    November 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. reallylivin

    this economy is'nt turning at all . it is stuck in reverse. until all you politicians get out of the drivers seat we are headed for a major accident.come on barrack at least tell it like it really is we at least deserve to hear the truth. most americans already know how bad it is. We are on the precipice of a total economic collapse. this is'nt the change i had hoped for BO. Sorry but you won't get my vote next time.

    November 23, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    I am proud to have a President who works for the benefit of all the people of the United States, the opposite of our previous Pres and the Repubs who serve only corporate greed.
    And the majority of the public wants the health care reform – with a public option.
    Unless you are a Fox follower, then you believe only 1/3 of the US cares about their own best interest.
    I want more hope and especially more change, thank you President Obama.

    November 23, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Stu

    Yeah, whatever. The only change Obama is bringing is increased welfare, entitlements, and dependency on the gov't for a handout. If unemployment is dropping its only because those laid off are taking whatever job they can find, be it a walmart greeter or bagger at the local grocery store. At least they aren't waiting for their gov't freebie.

    November 23, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. ib

    Where is the ecomony turning except worse. He's doing everything he can to shut the coal industry down. Global warming is a farce and todays reports are pointing that out.

    November 23, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Brian from NJ

    Most economists believe that after backing out gov't programs, the GDP was .5% to 1%, maybe. We have 10.2% unemployment, the dollar is sinking like a rock with all of this spending they are doing and Congress is hell bent on raising taxes, perhaps the worst idea in a bad economic climate that there is... And this guy is telling his staff that they should not sit back and be satisified!!! Was he kidding when he said that? And his explanation of how increased productivity affects unemployment makes Sarah Palin look like a genius.

    At least he didn't spew that "we inherited" nonsense even though the Dems were equally, if not more, responsible for the financial meltdown and where we are today...

    and then he ends it with... "We are extraordinarily blessed that we're in a position that we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people." ... what a self centered egomaniac this guy is. Too bad he did not say that the difference is making is a negative one.

    November 23, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Bev

    Obama: "Economy is turning and improving"

    Where???? In China, that's where.

    It is DEFINITELY not happening in the US-–where the national unemployment rate is now 10.2%

    November 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Impeach them all

    Obama is the greatest President ever. He's solved all the problems in the world by saying one thing. It's all the George Bush's fault. He is not only fixing this country by printing more and more money, he is going to give everyone health-care, even though it's not a Constitutional Right. He is so great, Unemployment is only above 10% and taxes will only be rising on those who actually pay taxes. I can't wait for the next 3 years to see how far he can FIX this broken country.

    Those who voted for this idiot get what they deserve and you have NO say what so ever when the rest of us question his motives. We see what he is doing to this Country and we DO NOT like it and we will say so. It is our RIGHT to Freedom of Speech that allows us to question our leaders.

    Obama along with the rest of this Corrupt Government need to be REMOVED from office and the people allowed to take back this Country from those who no longer wish to be apart of it. Those in power are put there by the people, FOR the people, but that is no longer the case.

    Impeach them all and start over without the Corruption and America will once again become the greatest Country on the face of the Earth.

    November 23, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. German,Irish American

    These are the same economists that said unemployment would stay at or below 8% ONLY if the stimulus passed. So we should believe them now? The stupidity of Obama on economics is astounding. The economy will improve in spite of, not because of Obama's foolish and stupid economic policies, because that is what capitilism does, unless of course the Soros/Obama Progressive Party turns us into a socialist dictatorship country.

    November 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Bren

    Keep telling the lies Obama-–as the majority in the country no longer believe them!!!

    Your approval rating in most polls is now below 50%-–American citizens are waking up!!!

    And, just wait until you hit the one year mark of your presidency-–I suspect your support/approval ratings are going to go down even more--as citizens will be tired of hearing your "blame Bush" for all of your failures!!!

    And, the ONLY economy that is now improving---is China!!!!

    November 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. Chicago Mob

    This administration has put us in a precarious position financially by increasing the debt it inherited by 4. To get out of this mess will require some tough choices and sensible action neither of which are they capeable of. Remember these clowns hate capitalism and the freemarket and their actions prove it.

    November 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. The Great Wordsmith is at it again . . .

    Obama: US economy has 'core strengths'

    How is this different from McCain's comment during the election that the U.S. economy is basically sound. ????????????

    We've had dozens of recessions since the Depression - and they ALWAYS turned around - in an average time span of 14 months - by letting free market principles decide - WITHOUT a porkulus stimulus.

    Will you people in your perpetual Obama trance NEVER get it ???????? YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED !!!!!!!!

    November 23, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    The darn thing is that the Republicans blame the recession on the Democrats who at that time were in the minority, and somehow they will claim credit for the economy improving when the Republicans are in the minority.

    I wish I had a simple mind like that, where I saw the reality as I wanted to see it, not as it actually is. Then when they get thumped by the Democrats, they wake up and must go listen to Rush immediately for the excuse of why the Republicans lost this time, but next time it will be different.

    You know Republicans, when your party is made up of Old White Men, you're party will NOT change. And your generations are not getting any younger....

    November 23, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    If the administration and congress was half serious about the economy or jobs they would not be ramming this lousy health care bureaucracy down our throats with every vote they can beg, borrow and buy.

    They say one thing and do another. The health care program will be an anchor on our economy for decades. It is a job killer and a drag on American productivity. It is hypocritical for them to go back now and talk about the economy.

    November 23, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Gerry

    How can the economy be getting didn't Obama just give away $300 million for a certain senators vote on health care. I thought that bribbing someone to get there vote was illegal in the US. I say lock the criminal up.

    November 23, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Buck Wheat

    Please step down Obummer

    November 23, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Observant1

    President Obama, we need you to stand up and act, no more words, no more stimulus, no give away. That also means, quit supporting other countriew. We (Americans) have increased the standard of living for India, Mexico, China and numerous other countries around the globe. We have starving kids and adults in America, bring our jobs back, in these times it should be "take care of home first". Just pretend that it is Michelle, Sasha and Miala, that is homeless and hungry and act upon it.

    November 23, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. brenda

    I read an article today that states that unemployment will hit 20% and that Ben Bernanke will be rersponsible for the collapse of our economy and tis country. Granted, it was just one article but it was enough for me to want to research the idea before claiming that the economy is doing well.

    November 23, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. SocialismBad

    Economy turning??!!! Are they serious??? These clowns are on drugs if they think the economy is improving. I guess if you're a government bureaucrat your outlook is quite rosey. But if you need a REAL job (aka non-government job) the outlook is horrendous.

    What business in their right mind would be hiring people given all these huge government programs, new taxes, etc. Obama and the socialist Democrats in Congress are dragging this country DEEPER in recession, or into the Obama DEPRESSION if they don't get thrown out next year.

    November 23, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. keithc

    I love this President.. But there is one more thing that is MOST important to me.... my country......

    That's why I have DECIDED to vote for Sarah Palin for 2012.... The one and only smartest star of GOP

    November 23, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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