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US economy is going in the right direction: Obama

Last updated on: July 9, 2010 10:59 IST

US economy is going in the right direction: Obama

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

US President Barack Obama on Thursday asserted the American economy is moving in the right direction, but acknowledged that it has a long way to go.

"We've got a long way to go. But what is absolutely clear is, we're moving in the right direction," Obama said, addressing a gathering at Kansas City, Missouri.

A year-and-a-half ago, he said, the American economy was shrinking by six per cent a year and now it is growing.

"The economy was bleeding jobs. We've now created private sector jobs, added private sector jobs, for six consecutive months," he said.

"Obviously, the progress we've made isn't nearly enough to undo all the damage that was done as a consequence of the economic crisis. There are still five unemployed workers for every vacancy," he said.

Obama made the trip to Kansas City as part of his "recovery summer" tour, promoting efforts by his government to quell concerns that the US has not added as many jobs as promised and could be slipping into a second recession.

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While the unemployment rate fell in June, the government estimated that a net 125,000 jobs were lost that month.

"We've gone through as bad an economic situation as we've had since the Great Depression. And this recession was a culmination of a decade of irresponsibility -- a decade that felt like a sledgehammer hitting middle-class families," he said.

"For the better part of 10 years, people have faced stagnant incomes, skyrocketing health care costs, skyrocketing tuition costs and declining economic security. And this all came to a head in a massive financial crisis that sent our economy into a freefall and cost eight million American jobs, including many in this community," Obama said.

"So it was in the middle of this crisis that my administration walked through the door and we had to make some difficult decisions at a moment of maximum peril to avoid a Great Depression, to make sure that we didn't have a complete meltdown in our financial system.

"It was a moment when the markets were in turmoil and we were losing 750,000 jobs every month," he said.

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Acknowledging that some of the decisions he made weren't popular at the time -- and some may still be unpopular he said they were made because the freefall had to be stopped.

"Because we made those hard choices, our economy is in a different place today than it was just a year ago," he said.

Obama said he expects energy investments alone to generate 700,000 jobs over the next few years.

"This is not just going to boost our economy in the short term; this is going to lay a platform for the future. It's going to create opportunities year after year after year, decade after decade after decade," he said.



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