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The President's Weekly Address

March 01, 2014

Hi, everybody. In my State of the Union Address, I said that the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, our businesses have created 8½ million new jobs in the last 4 years.

But we need to do more to make America a magnet for good jobs for the future. And in this year of action, where Congress won't do that, I will do whatever I can to expand opportunity for more Americans. This week, I took two actions to attract new jobs to America: jobs in American manufacturing and jobs rebuilding America's infrastructure.

Here's why this is important. In the 2000s alone, we lost more than one-third of all American manufacturing jobs. One in three. And when the housing bubble burst, workers in the construction industry were hit harder than just about anybody. The good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 jobs over the last 4 years; that's the first sustained growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.

Still, the economy has changed. And if we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we've got to make sure we're on the cutting edge of new manufacturing technologies and techniques. And in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.

That's why, on Tuesday, I launched two new high-tech manufacturing hubs, places where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into real-world goods made in America. So far, we've launched four of these hubs, where our workers can master 3-D printing, energy-efficient electronics, lightweight metals, and digital manufacturing, all technologies that can help ensure a steady stream of good jobs well into the 21st century.

Then, on Wednesday I launched a new competition to build 21st-century infrastructure: roads and bridges, mass transit, more efficient ports, and faster passenger rail. Rebuilding America won't just attract new businesses, it will create good construction jobs that can't be shipped overseas.

Of course, Congress could make an even bigger difference in both areas. Thanks to the leadership of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, there's a bill in Congress right now that would create an entire network of high-tech manufacturing hubs all across the country. And next week, I'll send Congress a budget that will rebuild our transportation systems and support millions of jobs nationwide.

There's a lot we can do if we work together. And while Congress decides what it's going to do, I'm going to keep doing everything in my power to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead and where we're restoring our founding vision of opportunity for all.

Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 11:15 a.m. on February 28 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on March 1. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on February 28, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on March 1.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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