WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday used a new jobs report to continue his victory lap on the economy — and jab at the Republicans vying for his job.
In brief remarks to reporters at the White House, Obama declared the U.S. has “the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”
He pointed to signs of wage and income growth, job growth, lower oil prices and increasing numbers of Americans with health insurance as evidence of that claim.
The president spoke shortly after the Labor Department announced that U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs in January. The gains pushed the unemployment rate to 4.9 per cent from 5 per cent, the lowest level of Obama’s presidency.
Obama said the data defies Republicans campaign criticism of his stewardship of recovery.
“I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays in New Hampshire,” he said. “I guess you cannot please everybody.”
Obama qualified his celebration by noting the “softness” in the global economy that continues to slow exports and created “headwinds” for some U.S. companies.
Still, he pointed to the economic gains to bolster his new proposal to impose a $10-per-barrel fee on oil. With oil prices low and the economy growth, it’s the right time to accelerate the transition to cleaner fuels, he argued.
“We should not let up from the progress that’s been made,” he said.