Obama assures economy moving in 'right direction'

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said Saturday the United States was recovering from deep recession and that hundreds of thousands of jobs had been created through massive investments. The president cited this weeks report on gross domestic product, pointing out that in the third quarter, GDP grew for the first time in over a year and faster than it had in the previous two years. Today, I am pleased to offer some better news that - while not cause for celebration - is certainly reason to believe that we are moving in the right direction, the president said in his weekly radio address. Obama said the $787b Recovery Act stimulus package passed earlier this year had helped create or save over 1m jobs. Data posted on Recovery.gov, the website of the independent panel overseeing the stimulus measure, showed 640,329 jobs directly saved or created up until Sept 30. Since the survey data only accounts for half the spending during that time, officials say the true number of jobs created is over a million. Republicans, however, accused the administration of making up job creation numbers out of thin air to disguise the failure of Obamas economic policies. Unemployment remains a key hurdle to sustained recovery, with the latest monthly figures in September pushing the jobless rate to a new 26-year high of 9.8 percent, with job losses accelerating to 263,000. US consumer spending, a critical growth driver, fell for the first time in five months in September, official data showed amid fears the economy may slow just after exiting recession. Household spending decreased 47.2 billion dollars or 0.5 percent last month, as expected by most economists, following a revised 1.4 percent jump in August, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest drop since Dec 2008. However, Obama said there was reason for optimism. Weve saved jobs by closing state budget shortfalls to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters, and teachers who are today on the beat, on call, and in the classroom because of the Recovery Act, Obama said. And weve also created hundreds of thousands of jobs through the largest investment in our roads since the building of the interstate highways, and through the largest investments in education, medical research, and clean energy in history. The president however warned that a lot of work still lay ahead and said that he wanted to create an economy where jobs were readily available and incomes were rising again. The economy we seek is one thats no longer based on maxed out credits cards, wild speculation, and the old cycles of boom or bust - but rather one thats built on a solid foundation, supporting growth that is strong, sustained, and broadly shared by middle class families across America, Obama said.

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