US economy starting to pick up steam: Obama
Washington: US President Barack Obama Friday said the American economy is starting to pick up steam with the creation of some seven million jobs in the past 38 months.
"The good news is, Friday, our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months. 500,000 of those jobs are in manufacturing. We're producing more of our own energy, we're consuming less energy, and we're importing less from other countries," Obama said at a White House event.
"The housing market is coming back. The stock market has rebounded. Our deficits are shrinking at the fastest pace in 50 years. People's retirement savings are growing again. The rise of health care costs are slowing. The American auto industry is back," he said.
"So we're seeing progress, and the economy is starting to pick up steam. The gears are starting to turn again, and we?re getting some traction," he said, adding this is not enough.
"But the thing is, the way we measure our progress as a country is not just where the stock market is; it?s not just to how well the folks at the top are doing; it?s not just about the aggregate economic numbers," he said.
"It's about how much progress ordinary families are making. Are we creating ladders of opportunity for everybody who's willing to work hard? Are we creating not only a growing economy, but also the engine that is critical to long-lasting, sustained economic growth -- and that is a rising, thriving middle class. That's our focus. That's what we?ve got to be concerned about every single day. That's our North Star," he said.
Obama said, his top priority as the President is to make America a magnet of good job in this competitive 21st century.
"Number two: How do we make sure that our workers earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs? And number three: How do we make sure those jobs actually pay a decent wage or salary, so that people can save for retirement, send their kids to college?" he asked listing out his priorities.
Obama rued that since most of Friday's college students were born, tuition and fees at public universities have more than doubled. And these days, the average student who takes out loans to pay for four years of college graduates owing more than USD 26,000, he added.