Obama says growth 'way too slow'
President Barack Obama on Friday insisted his focus is on getting America back to work and not on next year's elections, as he cautiously welcomed a drop in the US unemployment rate to 9.0 percent.
Speaking at a meeting of the world's 20 major economies in Cannes, France, Obama said the October dip in the jobless rate from 9.1 percent in September was "positive" but indicated "once again that the economy is growing way too slow."
Obama batted away suggestions that he is preoccupied with his political future as the United States enters an election year, while renewing his call on Congress to pass a package of measures to boost employment.
"The least of my concerns at the moment is the politics of a year from now. I'm worried about putting people back to work right now because those folks are hurting," he said at a post-G20 summit news conference.
Republicans and some Democrats have baulked at the idea of passing a $447 billion jobs bill, instead proposing tax cuts and deregulation.
But Obama has steadfastly insisted more stimulus was needed to get the economy back on track.
"My hope is that the folks back home including those in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives when they look at today's job numbers... that they think twice before they vote 'no' again."
"There's no excuse for inaction. That's true globally. It's certainly true back home as well. I'm going to keep on pushing it regardless of what the politics are."
Obama said his proposal was the only one "out there right now that independent economists say would actually make a dent in unemployment right now."
"Not only does the American Jobs Act answer some of the needs for jobs now, but it'll also lay the foundation for future growth through investments and infrastructure, for example."
© 2011 AFP