Calling the latest job losses astounding, President Barack Obama said Friday he will not accept a future marked by a recurring cycle of Americans forced out of work due to the economic crisis.
Obama spoke at the graduation ceremony for 25 police recruits who owe their jobs to the $787 billion economic recovery bill he signed into law less than three weeks ago.
In a 12-minute speech, the president noted that 651,000 U.S. jobs were lost last month, bringing to "an astounding 4.4 million" the number lost in the current recession. The Columbus police recruits were about to join those ranks, he said, "a future that millions of Americans still face right now."
"Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America," Obama said. That's why he signed the stimulus bill that Congress passed last month with miniscule help from Republicans, he said.
Obama noted the many critics of the package, but he said government leaders have a responsibility to act for future generations. The United States has met every challenge with bold action and big ideas, he said, and "that's what fueled a shared and lasting prosperity."
Meanwhile Friday, the Labor Department said it was making more than $3.5 billion available to states for education, training and re-employment services.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)