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  • The innovation and industry of the American worker are the foundations of the world’s largest economy and strongest middle class. A key part of what makes our economy so dominant is what we build here in America. Our electronics, medical equipment, cutting-edge machines, and top-of-the line vehicles are just some of the growing number of exports that are strengthening our economy and creating good-paying jobs here at home.

    In fact, a new report from the Department of Commerce shows that America’s goods and services exports directly supported more than 11.3 million American jobs in 2013, with goods exports alone supporting about 7.1 million of those jobs in communities across the country. Texas exports, for example, supported nearly 1.1 million jobs, more than any other state. The city of Houston topped all other metropolitan areas, creating $115 billion in goods exports.

    Check out this map to see how many people are making a living thanks to products that are made in America:

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Commerce's blog. See the original post here.

    The Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce today released two new reports that further prove exports are strengthening our economy and creating good jobs. I am very pleased that for the very first time, our department has released data detailing the number of jobs supported by goods exports in 2013 in each of the 50 states. A second report released today highlights the level of goods exports achieved by each of the nation's 387 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

    Back in 2010, President Obama launched the first-ever national strategy to increase exports, the National Export Initiative (NEI), with the idea that American businesses could lead our economic recovery by selling more of their goods and services to markets all over the world. The NEI has been a remarkable success. The United States has broken export records for four straight years, hitting an all-time high of $2.3 trillion last year, up $700 billion from 2009. And just four years after NEI was launched, we know that 1.6 million more Americans have export-supported jobs, bringing the total to 11.3 million Americans who wake up every day and go to work in jobs supported by exports.

    Today’s new data show more evidence of the NEI’s success. The first report released today, Jobs Supported by Goods Exports from States in 2013, breaks down the national total of jobs supported by good exports in 2013, 7.1 million, into estimates of the number of jobs in each state that are supported by goods exports. Texas exports supported more jobs – an estimated 1.1. million – than were supported by the exports from any other single state. Data show that goods exports from Texas, California, Washington, Illinois and New York supported an estimated 3 million jobs, or 43 percent of all U.S. jobs supported by exports in 2013.

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    Yesterday, the President celebrated Labor Day by visiting the city of Milwaukee for Laborfest, an annual festival hosted by the local AFL-CIO. While there, he spoke on a number of issues -- most notably the need to raise the minimum wage for America's workers.

    Kicking off his remarks, the President said that Labor Day belongs to the "working folks who are here today, and the unions who've always had your back," and emphasized the importance of building our economy from the middle class out:

    I didn't run for President to double down on top-down economics. I ran for President because I believed in bottom-up economics. I believed in middle-out economics. I placed a bet on you. I placed a bet on America’s workers. I put my money on American workers and the belief that our economy grows best when everybody has got a shot -- when folks who are willing to work hard can get into the middle class and stay in the middle class. And I’ve come back to Laborfest to say that because of your hard work, because of what we’ve been through together, that bet is starting to pay off.

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    In a video released this morning, President Obama addresses the people of West Africa about the Ebola outbreak that is currently affecting the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.

    The President reiterates in the video that, along with our partners around the world, the United States is working with these countries' governments to help stop the disease. The first step in this fight, however, is knowing the facts -- which is why the President also outlines the details about the transmission and treatment of Ebola.

    "Stopping this disease won't be easy," he says, "but we know how to do it." The President also notes that our countries can work together to improve public health to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

  • This afternoon, Labor Secretary Tom Perez sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to add their name in support of raising the federal minimum wage.

    Didn't get the email? Sign up for updates here.


    Hi, everyone --

    This Labor Day, I'm thinking about Austraberta.

    I had breakfast at Austraberta Rodriguez's home in Houston two weeks ago. She's worked as a janitor for more than 30 years, and for most of that time, her wages put her below the poverty level. Every cent she's earned has gone toward providing the basics for her children and grandchildren. Today, she's still earning the minimum wage -- which, in Texas, is just $7.25 an hour.

    Austraberta Rodriguez with her grandchildren

    Austraberta told me over breakfast that a national minimum wage increase would mean more bread for her family. She said a few more dollars an hour would be "incredible." That raise wouldn't just go toward making Austraberta's life a little better. It would improve the odds for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren too.

    Austraberta's struggle is our struggle. On Labor Day, we celebrate all workers nationwide who contribute to our strength and prosperity. Because whether you made the burger or someone served it to you, whether you're driving the bus or riding on it, whether you're sweeping the floor or working in the clean office, you have a part to pla​y.

    So today, if you're ready for a country that does right by Austraberta and the nearly 28 million Americans who stand to benefit from a $10.10 minimum wage, then honor them by adding your name here.

  • The recent labor market data have been encouraging. Businesses have now added nearly 10 million jobs over 53 straight months of job growth, the longest streak on record. Total job gains have exceeded 200,000 in each of the last six months, the first time that has happened since 1997. And the unemployment rate has fallen rapidly since mid-2013 to reach 6.2 percent in July, 1.1 percentage point less than a year ago.

    Of particular note, much of the decline in the unemployment rate has come as a result of declines in long-term unemployment. In fact, falling long-term unemployment accounts for more than 60 percent of the drop in the overall unemployment rate in the last 12 months. This is a disproportionately large share given that one-third of the jobless are long-term unemployed.

    The long-term unemployment rate has been cut by more than half from a peak of 4.4 percent in April 2010 — the highest ever recorded — to 2.0 percent in July 2014. Of that 2.4 percentage point decline, 0.7 percentage point has happened since last July, an even larger decline than seen with the short-term unemployment rate. Nevertheless, because the long-term unemployment rate more than quadrupled as a result of the recession, the declines seen recently are still not yet sufficient to return long-term unemployment to pre-recession levels.  

  • President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 29, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President wished Americans a happy Labor Day weekend, highlighted the important economic progress we’ve made, and reaffirmed his commitment to accelerate our progress and ensure that our growing economy fuels a strong middle class.

    To do this, the President reiterated that Congress should do right by hardworking Americans across the country and raise the minimum wage, and he praised the 13 states and Washington, D.C. as well as employers large and small who have heeded his call and taken action to provide their citizens and employees a fair wage.

    The President underscored that America built the world’s greatest middle class by making sure that everyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead – an economic patriotism worth remembering this Labor Day, and every day.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • This week, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day, the National Park Service celebrated its 98th birthday, and President Obama addressed the American Legion, the nation's largest veteran service organization.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    Women's Equality Day

    This past Tuesday, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day -- commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, securing women's right to vote. Although we've made a lot of progress in the decades since, there is still much work to be done.

    Throughout the day, White House economist Betsey Stevenson also took over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce. See her charts here.

  • In September 2009, the President announced that -- for the first time in history -- White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in May 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.89 million -- all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • As part of President Obama’s effort to achieve smarter and more effective approaches to international regulation, today I am pleased to announce the release of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan. The Forward Plan represents a significant pivot point for our regulatory cooperation relationships with Canada, and outlines new federal agency-level partnership arrangements to help institutionalize the way our regulators work together. 

    The Forward Plan will remove duplicative requirements, develop common standards, and identify potential areas where future regulation may unnecessarily differ. This kind of international cooperation on regulations between the United States and Canada will help eliminate barriers to doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies, grow the economy, and create jobs.

    Regulatory cooperation has to mean more than just “aligning” specific rules across the border; such a rule-by-rule approach is neither practical nor scalable enough to meet our ever-changing regulatory environments. We need to think more broadly and creatively on how to build cooperative frameworks to achieve our economic and regulatory policy goals in a more dynamic manner.

    That is why the Forward Plan identifies 24 areas of cooperation that the United States and Canada will work together to implement over the next three to five years in order to modernize our thinking around international regulatory cooperation and develop a toolbox of strategies to address international regulatory issues as they arise. 

  • This week, the White House honored two important anniversaries for women's rights and civil rights, and the President announced new actions to improve access to quality health care for veterans.

  • President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Economy, Iraq, and Ukraine

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, August 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    At the White House this afternoon, President Obama provided an update on important issues ahead of his attendance at the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom next week.  

    The President first addressed the "number one thing that most Americans care about" -- our economy. He noted that the economy is growing "at a stronger clip" than predicted and that we have more work to do to continue this momentum: 

    This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought.  Companies are investing.  Consumers are spending.  Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have created now nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed.  But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more we should be doing to make sure more Americans benefit from the progress that we've made and I am going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.

    As the U.S. military continues to carry out targeted airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground, the President reiterated his commitment as Commander-in-Chief to "always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland."


    "Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL."


    The President reported that our strikes have cost ISIL terrorists arms and equipment, and Iraqi and Kurdish forces are continuing to push them back. The U.S. will consider a range of options but he made clear that a successful strategy will require working with an inclusive Iraqi government and strong regional partners to meet this threat:

    Now ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and the people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.

    Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don’t always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat ISIL poses to all of them.  And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat.  As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy but I’m confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and partners. 

    For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy. And I’ve been consulting with Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.

  • President Obama today announced that he has asked U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Todd Park to take on a new role for the Administration as a technology advisor based in Silicon Valley. Park will begin the new role in September after he and his family have returned home to California.

    Park’s focus will be recruiting more top tech talent like Mikey Dickerson into government and identifying innovative ways to improve the quality of government digital services, two central goals of the President’s Smarter IT Delivery agenda. He will also help ensure that the Administration has an on-the-ground sense of how technology is evolving and can craft policy and initiatives accordingly.

  • Ninety-four years ago this week, American women officially won the right to vote when the United States certified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The fight to secure that intrinsic right took generations, and nearly 100 years later, women continue to face persistent inequality and discrimination.

    In 2014, women are still fighting to make the principle of equal pay for equal work a reality. Though more and more women are becoming the primary breadwinners in their families, they continue to make less than their male counterparts at all income levels -- a gender pay gap that only widens as people get older.

    In fact, women who enter the workforce after graduating college are paid less in almost every field of study:

  • Today’s revision affirms that economic growth in the second quarter was strong, consistent with the recent string of solid job growth and improvements in other economic indicators. But there's more work that needs to be done to build on this momentum. That is why the President continues to act on his own to facilitate investment in American manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure, as well as take steps to improve the financial security of working families.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

    1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The strong second-quarter growth represents a rebound from a first-quarter decline in GDP that largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Growth in consumer spending and business investment picked up in the second quarter, and residential investment increased following two straight quarters of decline. Additionally, state and local government spending grew at the fastest quarterly rate in five years. However, net exports subtracted from overall GDP growth, as imports grew faster than exports. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q2.

  • Last night, White House economist Betsey Stevenson sent the email below to the White House email list, telling the story of the progress women have made since gaining the right to vote -- and what's still left to accomplish.

    Didn't get the email? Make sure you're signed up for White House email updates.


    Hi, everyone --

    In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to John Adams, then serving on the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and reminded him to "not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."

    Seventy-two years later, in 1848, women across the country gathered together for the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

    And it wasn't until 72 years after that, in 1920, that women in the United States officially gained the right to vote.

    Let's be honest: Change hasn't ever exactly come quickly for women in this country. And 94 years later -- while it's undeniable that women have made leaps and bounds in every facet of American life, from the classroom to the boardroom -- it's not enough.

    Today, on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we celebrate Women's Equality Day. And today, the day-to-day operations of too many businesses and institutions still don't reflect true gender equality. We've got the data to prove it.

    Throughout the day, I've posted charts that tell the story of the progress we've made -- and the challenges women still face in the workforce.

    Take a look -- and then share these with someone you think needs to see them.

  • President Obama Delivers Remarks at the American Legion

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the American Legion's 96th National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama traveled to Charlotte, NC today to address the American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran service organization, and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our veterans from every corner of the country and every generation:

    In the story of your service we see the spirit of America.  When your country needed you most, you stepped forward.  You raised your right hand, you swore a solemn oath.  You put on that uniform and earned the title you carry to this day -- whether Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman.

    Among you are proud veterans of World War II; of Korea; of Vietnam; of Desert Storm and the Balkans; and our newest veterans -- from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Across the generations, you served with honor.  You made us proud.  And you carry the memory of friends who never came home -- our fallen, our prisoners of war, those missing in action -- heroes that our nation can never forget.

  • Today, White House Economist Betsey Stevenson is taking over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog in honor of Women's Equality Day. Follow along here, or on the White House Tumblr.


    Hey everyone! Betsey Stevenson here from President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I’ll be taking over I Love Charts to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce.

    Let’s get started. Our first chart shows how women are increasingly contributing to family income and now make up about half the workforce. Since 2000, women’s labor force participation has dropped slightly, but most of that is because of cyclical factors and an aging population. While older women participate in the workforce at lower rates than younger women, the percent of older women who are working has increased since the mid-1990s, partially offsetting the overall decline.

    At the other end of the spectrum, young women are more likely to be enrolled in school than they were a generation ago, and that’s good news. Since students (even ones who work part-time) are not considered to be in the labor force, increased school enrollment will depress the participation rate.

    Wanna wonk out some more on this stuff? Check out our report on “Women’s Participation in Education and the Workforce.”

  • Every day, the men and women of our military perform incredible service on behalf of our country. And as the President has made clear, just as our service members have made a commitment to America, we have a commitment to them – to have their backs at home while they serve around the world.

    A new partnership announced today by President Obama with leading banks and financial services institutions is part of meeting that commitment by making it easier for service members to access important financial protections that will save them money and help protect their financial wellbeing. 

    In a speech at the American Legion's 96th National Convention today, the President outlined how his Administration and five of the country’s largest mortgage servicers are working together to help more members of our active-duty military lower their monthly mortgage payments. Our preliminary analysis suggests that this new partnership will help tens of thousands of military families save money by reducing their mortgage interest rates. On a $200,000 mortgage, even an interest rate reduction of only 1 percent will result in over $1,500 a year in savings for our military families – money they can put toward daily expenses, retirement savings, or sending their children to college.

  • At 108 years old, Lucy Coffey, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps in World War II, is the nation's oldest living female veteran.

    Last month, a dream of hers came true when she finally had the opportunity to visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. But while she was in the area, she also stopped by the White House — where she was greeted by none other than President Obama and Vice President Biden. 

    Watch the video below — we're sure it will make your day:

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