Buoyed by wage-gains and record low unemployment, President Barack Obama underscored on Friday that his administration’s efforts have helped usher in an economic recovery.
“We should be proud of the progress we have made,” Obama told reporters during an appearance at the White House press briefing. “We have recovered from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.”
U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs in January, a deceleration from recent months as companies shed education, transportation and temporary workers but hired others in manufacturing, retail and food services.
The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent, its lowest level since early 2008.
The report Friday from the Labor Department showed that employers are still hiring steadily, though at a slower pace. The January figures follow seasonally adjusted job growth of 262,000 in December and 280,000 in November.
Obama stressed that the recovery will be aided by the types of policies supported in his final budget — which will be sent to Congress on Tuesday.
Some of those proposals will face significant hurdles.
Obama will propose a $10-per-barrel charge on oil to fund clean transportation projects. The administration’s proposal — which comes on the heels of last year’s passage of a bipartisan transportation bill — would face a tough time passing the GOP-controlled Congress.
The president also acknowledged that though the economy has made gains there are areas for improvement.
“There’s no doubt that while we have made significant progress there’s still anxiety and concern about the general direction of the economy,” Obama said. “Part of it is there’s still a big carryover from the devastation that took place in 2007, 2008.”