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The President's Weekly Address

May 18, 2013

Hi, everybody. Over the past few months, I've laid out a series of commonsense ideas to reignite the true engine of our economic growth: a rising, thriving middle class.

The way I see it, there are three areas where we need to focus: one, making America a magnet for good jobs; two, making sure our workers have the education and skills they need to do those jobs; and three, making sure your hard work leads to a decent living.

I've also been visiting cities across the country that are doing some interesting and creative things along these lines. So, on Friday, for example, I stopped by a factory in Baltimore that's creating good jobs here at home by exporting dredging equipment abroad. I read with young kids at a pre-K program, where kids are getting a head start learning the skills they need to succeed in life. And I stopped by a program that's helping folks in tough circumstances, especially low-income dads, get the training and guidance they need to find work and support their families.

That's why I like getting out of the Washington echo chamber whenever I can, because too often our politics aren't focused on the same things you are: working hard, supporting your family and supporting your community, making sure your kids have every chance in life.

More than anything, the American people make me optimistic about where we're headed as a nation, especially after all we've been through during the past several years. And that should encourage us all to work even harder on the issues that matter to you.

In a little over 3 years, our businesses have created more than 6.5 million new jobs. And while our unemployment rate is still too high, it's the lowest it's been since 2008. But now, we need to create even more good, middle class jobs, and we've got to do it faster.

Corporate profits have skyrocketed to an alltime high. But now we need to get middle class wages and incomes rising too.

Our housing market is healing. But we need to do a lot more to help families stay in their homes or to help them refinance to take advantage of historically low rates.

And our deficits, well, they're shrinking at the fastest rate in decades. But now we've got to budget in a smarter way that doesn't hurt middle class families or harm critical investments in our future.

So in a lot of sectors, things are looking up. The American auto industry is thriving. American energy is booming. And American ingenuity in our high-tech sector has the potential to change the way we do almost everything.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to visit more cities like Baltimore and Austin, Texas—where I was 2 weeks ago—places where Americans are coming together to strengthen their own communities and economies and, in the process, making this country better for all of us.

And I'm going to keep on trying to work with both parties in Washington to make progress on your priorities. Because I know that if we come together around creating more jobs, educating more of our kids, and building new ladders of opportunity for everyone who's willing to climb them, we'll all prosper together.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 4 p.m. on May 17 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on May 18. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 17, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on May 18.

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

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