Obama Pledges Focus on Job Creation

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President Obama promoted his plans to jump start job growth while visiting North Carolina on Monday.

The battleground state, which Obama barely won in 2008, currently has an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

"Our economic challenges were years in the making, and it will take years to get back to where we need to be," the president told workers at an energy-efficient lighting plant in Durham.

"Today, the single most serious economic problem we face is getting people back to work," Obama said. "We stabilized the economy. We prevented a financial meltdown, and an economy that was shrinking is now growing.."

"But I'm still not satisfied. I will not be satisfied until everyone who wants a good job that offers some security has a good job that offers security," he said. 

Members of Obama's advisory Jobs Council, along with senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, also toured the state. Jarrett visited a drug manufacturing plant to find ways to help biotech business compete in the global market.

Biogen's CEO George Scangos said the administration should consider its tax and regulatory policies.

"I think the government needs to think carefully, and the administration needs to think carefully, about how to balance the need for an appropriate tax structure here with the need for revenues and their other priorities," Scangos said.

"That will be very important for us. Our regulatory issues are important," he added.

The president's Jobs Council has several suggestions for boosting job creation, including:

  • Training workers for jobs that are tough to fill
  • Streamlining permits for construction projects
  • Easing visa restrictions to boost tourism
  • Facilitating lending to small businesses.

Republicans still aren't convinced that the president is making the economy his top priority.

"Photo-ops with business leaders only reinforce that no one in this administration has ideas to create the private sector jobs our economy desperately needs," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

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