WASHINGTON, August 5, 2011 (AFP) – President Barack Obama assured the world Friday that the powerhouse US economy would recover after a tumultuous year, as fears rise that a stagnant recovery could degenerate into another recession.
“What I want the American people and our partners around the world to know is this: we are going to get through this, things will get better,” Obama said, following turmoil on world markets partly caused by US economic woes.
Mired in one of the stickiest patches of his presidency, Obama did get an unexpected morsel of political breathing room Friday, as better-than-expected official figures showed the economy added 117,000 jobs last month.
Obama noted that despite a “tumultuous year” the economy had now added jobs in the private sector for 17 consecutive months, but warned the pace of employment growth was not sufficient to make up for the eight million jobs lost in the recession.
“We need to create a self-sustaining cycle where people are spending and companies are hiring and our economy is growing,” Obama said at Washington’s Navy Yard at an event highlighting plans to boost hiring of military veterans.
“My concern right now, my singular focus, is the American people — getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages, rebuilding that sense of security the middle class has felt slipping away for years.”
The unemployment rate, nationally at 9.1 percent and higher in some states, is likely to be a decisive factor in a wider argument about the state of the economy which is likely to dominate Obama’s reelection bid next year.
Unusually, Obama’s remarks following the regular monthly job report appeared aimed outside US borders, as well as at Americans, as concern mounts overseas that the US economy may falter just as the other dominant economic power, Europe, is stuck in its own deep economic problems.
Fears about the global recovery led to steep selloffs on world markets this week, though the Department of Labor jobs report lifted sentiment among US investors.
After early gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat, edging up 0.38 of a point to 11,384.06 at 1440 GMT, after one hour and 10 minutes of trading.