US President-elect Barack Obama has said that his administration will act 'swiftly' to address the 'greatest economic challenge of our lifetime' that the country is facing.
"We are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime. We will have to act swiftly to resolve it. I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead," the 47-year-old senator from Illinois, who was elected as the 44th US President, said.
"We have taken some major action to date and we will take further action," Obama said in his first press conference after his historic victory on November 4.
He said that if the lame-duck Congress fails to pass the stimulus package before he takes office on January 20 next, then passing such a package will be his first priority.
"Immediately after I become president, I will confront this economic crisis head on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hard-working families and restore growth and prosperity," Obama said.
He stressed that the country should devise a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provide tax relief to struggling families.
"Particularly urgent priority is a further extension on unemployment benefits for workers who cannot find work in the increasingly weak economy," said.
Obama, who had a meeting with a 17-member council of economic advisors, pointed to the release of the Labor Department saying that 240,000 jobs had been shed in October, bringing the year's total job losses to 1.2 million.
"This morning, we woke up to more sobering news about the state of our economy. The 2,40,000 jobs were lost in October, the 10th consecutive month that our economy had shed jobs. In total, we have lost nearly 1.2 million jobs this year. More than 10 million Americans are now unemployed.
"My transition team is going to be monitoring very closely what happens over the course of the next several months. The one thing I can say with certainty is that we are going to need to see a stimulus package passed either before or after inauguration," Obama, who was accompanied by Vice President-elect Joe Biden, said.
Describing the US auto industry as the back-bone of the American manufacturing, Obama said that a critical part of its attempt would be to reduce countries dependence on foreign oil.