President Obama sought to reassure Americans that the recent economic turmoil will settle and that the country is on the road to recovery, despite a spate of bad economic news from the last few weeks that concluded in a major drop in the markets.
“We are going to get through this. Things will get better. We're going to get there together,” Obama told a crowd of veterans at the Washington Navy Yard Friday, where he was speaking about lowering unemployment among the nation’s veterans. Neither he nor any member of the administration commented after the Dow plunged over 500 points Thursday, and Obama avoided addressing the market crash directly.
“There is no doubt this has been a tumultuous year,” said Obama. “My singular focus is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job.”
He called for Democrats and Republicans to do a better job of working together after a “divisive” and “delayed” process to negotiate a compromise on deficit reduction. “If we want our businesses to have the confidence they have to get cash off the sidelines and invest and hire, we have to do better than that. We've got to be able to work together to grow the economy right now, and strengthen our long term finances. That's what the American people expect of us,” Obama said.
Friday brought some welcome news as July’s employment report came back with a higher-than-expected gain of 117,000 jobs, a bright spot in a week of otherwise dismal economic news. Revised reports also showed an additional 56,000 jobs added in May and June, and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 9.1 percent.
About 125,000 jobs per month are needed to keep the unemployment rate steady, while about 200,000 a month would bring it down a percentage point over a year, according to several economists.