Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

“It is our generation’s task, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth —
a rising, thriving middle class,”

— President Barack Obama

Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

Jobs News

  • Watch Live: President Obama on the American Jobs Act in North Carolina

    Ed. Note: The event has now ended. Watch video and see photos from the event.

    Today, President Obama will visit Raleigh, North Carolina to continue the conversation with Americans on why Congress needs to pass the American Jobs Act to put workers back to work. Watch the President live beginning at 12:55 p.m. EDT at

    In advance of the President’s visit, Governor Beverly Perdue and mayors across North Carolina explained the importance of passing the American Jobs Act. Governor Beverly Perdue said, "My top priority is creating jobs. I'm pleased that the President put forward the American Jobs Act. Congress should pass a plan quickly that encourages companies to hire, helps unemployed people get back to work, and puts more money in the pockets of working families."

  • American Jobs Act and Your Community

    The purpose of the American Jobs Act, which President Obama sent to Congress this week, is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The President's plan will rebuild the economy the American way -- based on balance, fairness and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. 

    The American Jobs Act reflects a commitment to strengthen the recovery and help increase access to jobs for all Americans. To see what impact the Jobs Act will have on your community, click on the link below.

  • President Obama: "Every Child Deserves a Great School"

    President Barack Obama on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, Ohio

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks to students, faculty and staff at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 13, 2011. The President highlights his American Jobs Act proposal to put workers back on the job by rebuilding and modernizing schools across the country. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    It was a hot afternoon in Columbus, Ohio today when President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of over 3,000 people at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School. He laid out how the American Jobs Act will put teachers back in the classroom and get construction workers, carpenters and electricians back on the job modernizing America's schools.

    Even though the September sun felt more like midsummer, students are back in school at Fort Hayes and on days like today they’re glad to have air-conditioning, one of many recent renovations to buildings on campus that were originally built during the Civil War. The American Jobs Act would make it possible to renovate at least 35,000 schools like Fort Hayes across the country. As the President said, putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding schools is just common sense for the economy and for the education of our kids:

    When buildings are that old, they start falling apart.  They start leaking, and ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer.  Some of the schools the ventilation is so poor it can make students sick. 

    How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that?  The answer is we can’t.  Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them, but we got to pass this bill. 

  • Office Hours 9/13/11 or "We Need the American Jobs Act Now": David Plouffe Answers Your Questions on Twitter

    Today, David Plouffe, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, answered your questions on the American Jobs Act during a special session of White House Office Hours. See a recap of the Twitter Q&A below, or over on Storify.

    If you didn't have a chance to join us live, there are more Office Hours focused on the American Jobs Act this week. Take a look at the schedule and be sure to follow @WHLive for more chances to engage.

    David Plouffe answers questions during Office Hours

    Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor David Plouffe responds to questions on Twitter during a session of White House Office Hours focused on the American Jobs Act. September 13, 2011.

  • More Organizations and Businesses Respond to the American Jobs Act

    Yesterday, President Obama sent The American Jobs Act to Congress and urged Congress to pass the bill right away to get the economy moving. Organizations and businesses continue to respond to the President’s call to put partisanship aside and do what is right for the American people. Here is what organizations around the country are saying about the American Jobs Act:

    UNITE HERE, John W. Wilhelm, President

    On behalf of UNITE HERE’s 250,000 members who work in the hotel, food service, gaming and manufacturing industries, I applaud the President’s vigorous and inspired push to put America back to work. We join him in calling for the Congress to act and to act now!

    Public Transportation Association (APTA), William Millar, President

    On behalf of the more than 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association I commend President Obama for his remarks last night that highlighted creating and supporting jobs through investing in transportation infrastructure. The $50 billion in direct funding proposed in the American Jobs Act will go a long way to jump start needed transportation investments.  Every $1 billion in public transportation investment supports or creates 36,000 jobs.  Also, for every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns.

    International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Gregory J. Junemann, President

    The President’s plan is needed now, more than ever, and we encourage all Americans and every member of Congress to get on board in pushing this plan into law. President Obama made a great speech in outlining his plan for the restoration of the nation’s economy. And he called on all of us—each and every one of us—to support him. We must answer his call with meaningful action. Reach out to every member of Congress and demand the swift passage of the American Jobs Act.

    Fraternal Order of Police, Chuck Caterbury, National President

    President Obama has presented us with a sound, no nonsense, blueprint for getting Americans back to work and jumpstarting the economy. We support and applaud this effort and will work to ensure its passage by Congress.

  • What You Missed: Open for Questions with News One, Hello Beautiful, Black Planet, The Urban Daily & TheGrio

    President Barack Obama drops by an Interactive One panel

    President Barack Obama drops by an Interactive One panel discussion in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Sept. 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Yesterday, the White House hosted an "Open for Questions" event with InteractiveOne, a network of sites that includes,,,, and During the discussion, President Obama made a surprise appearance to speak about the American Jobs Act that he sent to Congress earlier in the day and to answer questions. 

    Administration officials including Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council; Shaun Donovan, US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development; Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council; Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration; and Ambassador Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative answered questions on a range of topics submitted by InteractiveOne readers, as well as questions from a live audience and from Twitter.

    Watch the video of President Obama's surprise visit or check out the full panel discussion below:

  • Open for Questions: The American Jobs Act

    On Thursday, September 15th at 2:00PM EDT, the White House will host a special “Open for Questions” event.

    Last week, President Obama unveiled the American Jobs Act before a Joint Session of Congress and yesterday the President sent the American Jobs Act to Congress. This plan puts more people back to work and puts more money in the pockets of working Americans. On Thursday, September 15th at 2:00PM EDT Obama Administration officials will answer questions submitted through Facebook, Twitter, and the White House website during a live event that you won’t want to miss. 

    Participating Obama Administration include:

    • Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council
    • Jon Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of the Office of Public Engagement

    Right now, you can submit questions through:

    On September 15th at 2:00 p.m. EDT, you can watch and engage live:

  • How America Creates Jobs

    On Saturday, I visited the Port of Miami to see firsthand the success story of American agriculture and the jobs it is creating. Despite historic natural disasters, our agriculture business is booming.

    Last year, almost $920 million in agricultural goods moved through the port, nearly double the amount from 2006. And this year it’s on pace to exceed that total by 8.5 percent. Those exports alone are helping support nearly 8,400 American jobs.

    At the same time, the port is beginning work on a major tunnel and a deep-dredge project that will provide jobs for construction workers to keep it among the busiest in the nation. These are steps - much like those proposed by President Obama in the American Jobs Act – that are already underway to grow the economy and create jobs. 

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami on Saturday, September 10, 2011 after meeting with leaders from agriculture and business industries. (Photo by Ryan Holloway in Miami-Dade County)

  • Back on the Job Thanks to Federal Transportation Investments

    Ed. Note: The following is cross-listed with the Department of Transportation blog.

    Last week, as President Obama addressed Congress on the American Jobs Act, Kirk Bergstrom, a construction engineer from Centennial, Colorado, who personifies our economic challenges, sat in the First Lady’s box.

    Here's what I mean.  Kirk Bergstrom is a stand-up guy, one of those Americans who has played by the rules all his life.  He went to college to improve his opportunities. He developed his skills and experience through more than a decade working in his field.  He got married and began raising a family.  He was doing all the right things.

    Then, when the recession began, he was laid off from a company he'd been with for 11 steady years.  He was picked up by another construction company, but was laid off again.  Hired back by his original company, he was again let go when the projects dried up.

    For long stretches during this period--three months, six months, another six months--Kirk was unemployed.  But even then he would not give up.  He took part-time work in a warehouse while his wife struggled to hold down different part-time jobs.  The bills--mortgage, utilities, groceries--piled up.

    "My wife and I," Kirk says, "would sit up at night and just stare at each other, not knowing what to say."

    Bergstrom Family

    The Bergstrom Family (Photo from US DOT)

  • Income and Poverty in 2010: Why Congress Should Pass the American Jobs Act

    New data released today on income and poverty in 2010 underscore the need for Congress to pass the President’s American Jobs Act without delay. With the first full year of data following the deepest recession since the Great Depression now in, we see an unacceptably high poverty rate and families struggling to get by on less income.

  • Open for Questions: Youth and the American Jobs Act

    Hi everyone. I’d like to invite you to a very special edition of “Open for Questions” on Wednesday, September 14th, at 4:00PM EDT. Please join me and senior White House officials as we field questions on how the American Jobs Act will impact young Americans. I'll moderate this conversation with:

    • Michael Pyle, Special Assistant to the President, National Economic Council
    • Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy

    We’ve already received a number of questions about the American Jobs Act, like:

    • How will the President’s plan support young entrepreneurs?
    • Will the plan help prevent police, firefighters and teacher layoffs?
    • What programs will the American Jobs Act support on youth employment?

    On Wednesday, we'll answer these questions, and many more. So, send us your questions and please be sure to tune in for the live video chat. Here's how you can participate:

    Right now, you can:

  • President Obama Sends The American Jobs Act to Congress

    Today, President Obama sent a message to Congress with the American Jobs Act of 2011 and a section-by-section analysis of the legislation. The American Jobs Act is composed of the kinds of proposals to put Americans back to work that both Democrats and Republicans have supported. That's why President Obama is urging Congress to pass the bill right away to get the economy moving. As the President stressed this morning, this is not a time to play politics:

     It’s not okay at a time of great urgency and need all across the country. These aren’t games we’re playing out here. Folks are out of work. Businesses are having trouble staying open. You’ve got a world economy that is full of uncertainty right now -- in Europe, in the Middle East. Some events may be beyond our control, but this is something we can control. Whether we not -- whether or not we pass this bill, whether or not we get this done, that’s something that we can control. That’s in our hands.

    Read the letter to Congress, the full American Jobs Act, and the section-by-section analysis below:

  • President Obama: "Let's Put this Country Back to Work"

    Watch President Obama's speech on the American Jobs Act here.

    This morning, President Obama was joined by Vice President Biden as well as teachers, veterans, small business owners, construction workers and first responders, as he called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away:

    On Thursday, I told Congress that I’ll be sending them a bill called the American Jobs Act.  Well, here it is.  This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country.  This is the bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis.  This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans.  And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass.  No games.  No politics.  No delays. I’m sending this bill to Congress today, and they ought to pass it immediately. 

  • Students on the Jobs Act: "Common Sense Solutions to Get Americans Back to Work"

    As President Obama said in his address to a joint session of Congress, he is sending over the American Jobs Act to be passed right away. The bill is a set of ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans to put Americans back to work.

    During the President's address to Congress, the White House invited students and young adults to watch the speech and have senior administration officials answer their questions on the President's new jobs proposal.

    Watch the video of what some of them had to say once the event was over.

    Senior staff and policy experts will continue to answer questions about the American Jobs Act in the coming days. Use the hashtag #WHChat on Twitter to get answers live during scheduled Office Hours. And tune in for a special Open for Questions with Interactive One today starting at 4 p.m. EDT at

     Find out more about the American Jobs Act

  • The President's Plan for the Economy and Education

    Ed. Note: The following is cross-listed with the Department of Education blog.

    In his speech to Congress, President Obama laid out two job programs critical to ensuring every child has the opportunity for a world-class education.

    He proposed to invest $30 billion to put hundreds of thousands of construction workers, engineers, boiler repairmen, and electrical workers back to work rebuilding and modernizing our aging public schools and community colleges. And he proposed an additional $30 billion to keep hundreds of thousands of educators facing potential layoffs and furloughs in classrooms where they belong—instead of on unemployment lines.

    In the global economy, the nation that out-educates America will out-compete America. But the hard truth is that a number of nations are now out-educating the U.S.—and the antiquated conditions of many public schools are limiting children’s access to the 21st century tools and skills needed to compete in a knowledge economy.

    The average public school building in the United States is over 40 years old. Many school buildings are even more antiquated. Today, the digital age has penetrated every nook of American life—with the exception of many of our public schools.

    Most classrooms have changed little from a century ago. In fact, 43 states report that a third or more of their schools fail to meet the functional requirements necessary to effectively teach laboratory science—even though hands-on science education is vital for the jobs of the future. That’s no way to provide a world-class education.

    Cash-strapped school districts meanwhile face an enormous $270 billion backlog of deferred maintenance and repairs. Tragically, children in the nation’s poorest school districts often attend schools with crumbling ceilings, overcrowded classrooms, and facilities that lack basic wiring infrastructure for computers, projectors, and other modern-day technology.

  • President Obama Speaks to State, Local, Tribal Officials on American Jobs Act

    President Obama on a call about the American Jobs Act

    President Barack Obama has a conference call with local, state and tribal officials in the Oval Office, Sept. 9, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On Friday, after traveling to the University of Richmond to discuss the American Jobs Act, President Obama hosted a conference call for over 1,100 state, local and tribal officials to explain how the plan would put people back to work in communities across the country.   

    The President thanked the officials on the call for their ongoing support, as well as their input and ideas that helped shape the American Jobs Act through listening sessions, calls and meetings over the past month.  The President then laid out his policy ideas to help create more jobs immediately, including proposals to:

    • Provide $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation;
    • Provide $10 billion to create a National Infrastructure Bank;
    • Invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers while also keeping tens of thousands of police officers and firefighters on the job;
    • Modernize at least 35,000 public schools with $25 billion in infrastructure investments and $5 billion to improve community colleges; and
    • Put construction workers back on the job with $15 billion to rehabilitate and refurbish hundreds of thousands of vacant homes in communities across America.

  • Office Hours 9/9/11 or “Gotta sign off, headed to #WHTweetup”: Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter

    Earlier today, we brought back White House “Office Hours”, a question and answer session with Administration officials on Twitter to hear from you and answer your questions, submitted using the hashtag #WHChat, on the new White House twitter account @WHLive.

    Today, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council answered your questions about the American Jobs Act, announced by President Obama in a joint session of Congress and designed to create more jobs now, and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.

    If you missed this session, check out the schedule for upcoming chances to join.

    Follow us at @WhiteHouse for the latest updates and use the hashtag #WHWeb to share your feedback and ideas on how we can improve Office Hours and our online program. 

    Brian Deese American Jobs Act Office Hours

    During White House Office Hours, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese answers questions from the public on the American Jobs Act through Twitter. September 9, 2011 (Photo by Thomas Kelley)

  • Experts Confirm: American Jobs Act Will Create Jobs

    Last night, President Obama laid out the American Jobs Act – a set of ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans that will put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.  He urged Congress to pass it right away. 

    Today, we’ve seen reports from economic analysts and statements from CEOs.  All of their statements underscore the same message: the American Jobs Act will create jobs and is good for the American people.  It will grow the economy, help middle class families and strengthen communities across the nation.  

    Here’s a quick rundown from the experts:

    Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi: “The fiscal boost from the jobs package next year would be larger than in the first year of the 2009 economic stimulus, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. Zandi, who was briefed on the plan before the president’s speech, forecast passage of the entire jobs package would add 2 percentage points to economic growth next year and bring down the unemployment rate by 1 percentage point compared with current policy, under which a temporary payroll tax cut and an extended unemployment benefits both expire Dec. 31.”

    This morning Economic Forecasting FirmMacroeconomic Advisers issued a report: “We estimate that the American Jobs Act (AJA), if enacted, would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term. The various tax cuts aimed at raising workers’ after-tax income and encouraging hiring and investing, combined with the spending increases aimed at maintaining state & local employment and funding infrastructure modernization, would: Boost the level of GDP by 1.3% by the end of 2012, and by 0.2% by the end of 2013. Raise nonfarm establishment employment by 1.3 million by the end of 2012 and 0.8 million by the end of 2013, relative to the baseline.” 

    On CNN last night, Pimco CEO Bill Gross said, “Well, I think it's significant, Piers. I mean, it's $450 billion in terms of a proposal. That is 3% of GDP. If it's passed, you know, it could lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

    In a statement last night, Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons said, “The President's proposed combination of personal and business tax relief, targeted spending to support infrastructure, and aid to states offers several direct and innovative ways of creating jobs and bolstering our economy. The President's focus on assisting small business is spot on, since small business is the engine of job creation.”

    The President will continue to make his case directly to the American people about the importance of passing the American Jobs Act. He discussed his strategy to rebuild the economy at University of Richmond this afternoon and he’ll travel to Ohio and North Carolina next week. 

    This package will keep cops on the beat, first responders on the job, and teachers in the classroom.  This package will put folks back to work by rebuilding our roads and upgrading our schools.  Plain and simple, this package will create jobs and help rebuild the economy.  The time for obstruction and gridlock is over. Congress needs to put country ahead of politics, and pass the American Jobs Act.

    Find out more about the American Jobs Act

  • Rural America and The President's Jobs Plan

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USDA Blog.

    Last night, I went to the Capitol to hear the President address Congress about the way forward to grow the economy and create jobs.
    There is no doubt that these have been tough times.  And it’s very tough for the many Americans who are looking for work.  So we’ve got to keep finding ways to help the unemployed in the short term and rebuild the middle class over the long term.
    The American Jobs Act that President Obama laid out this evening will have an immediate impact.  It will create jobs now.  And it is based on bipartisan ideas that both Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. 
    Americans living in rural communities know well that the specific ideas in the bill work.

  • A State by State Look at the American Jobs Act

    The purpose of the American Jobs Act, which President Obama presented to Congress last night, is simple: Put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The President's plan will rebuild the economy the American way -- based on balance, fairness and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. 

    The American Jobs Act offers benefits for workers and for business owners -- to see what impact the Jobs Act will have in your community, click on the link below for your state.  


    Find out more about the American Jobs Act