President Barack Obama signed a new jobs bill on Thursday. It's the first of several pieces of jobs legislation promised by Democratic lawmakers.
The president said the measure will be especially beneficial to small-business owners, pointing to $18 billion in tax incentives he says will smooth the way to hire new workers.
"Many of them are on the fence right now about whether to bring on that extra worker or two, or whether to hire anyone at all," Obama said. "This jobs bill should help make their decision that much easier."
The bill exempts businesses that hire the unemployed from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. It also gives employers an extra $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job for a year.
In addition, it would pump $20 billion into highway and mass transit programs.
However, some economic analysts are skeptical that the measure will do much to boost hiring.
The most optimistic experts say the tax breaks in the bill could help generate up to a quarter of a million jobs. That's a tiny fraction of the nearly 8.5 million jobs lost since the recession began.
Meanwhile, the president himself acknowledged there's still more work to be done.
"Now, make no mistake: While this jobs bill is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough," Obama said.
"There is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about full economic recovery - from helping credit-worthy small businesses get the loans they need to expand, to offering incentives to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, to investing in infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work America needs done," the president said.