President Obama outlines policy initiatives for small business and job growth

The country received some positive economic news on Friday as monthly labor statistics showed a decrease in the national unemployment rate from 10% to 9.7%. And though reports also showed a loss of 20,000 jobs in January, a much welcomed increase of 11,000 manufacturing jobs over that same period might be viewed as a positive step in the right direction.

via Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

by Timothy R. Homan

More than half a million Americans found work, a Labor Department report showed yesterday in Washington, helping push the jobless rate to the lowest since August. A separate survey of employers showed payrolls declined by 20,000 as construction companies and state and local governments cut back. . . .

Factory payrolls increased 11,000 in January, the biggest gain since April 2006, after falling 23,000 in the prior month. Economists projected a drop of 20,000. . . .

The underemployment rate — which includes part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking — fell to 16.5 percent from 17.3 percent.

However, it is important to note that the African-American unemployment rate is currently at 16.5%. You can read a summary and breakdown of the jobs report by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

by Ann Belser
While the unemployment rate for white people declined from 9 percent to 8.7 percent, the rate for black people grew from 16.2 percent to 16.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. . .

While the unemployment rate for black teenagers improved 4.6 percentage points, it remained at a shocking 43.8 percent in January. The jobless rate for white teenagers was 23.5 percent in January.

Still focusing on the needs of the unemployed, the President was not satisfied. Speaking to a group in Lanham, MD, the President called the economic news a cause for “hope, not celebration.”  And in his latest weekly address President Obama outlined some of the steps he is taking to help small businesses get back on their feet and become a source for job growth moving forward.

The President listed several of his proposals for small businesses, stating:

“Because financing remains difficult for good credit worthy small businesses across the country, I’ve proposed that we take thirty billion dollars from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new small business lending fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. And we should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times. To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I‘ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment. Finally, we should provide targeted support to the most innovative small businesses; the ones with the greatest potential to export new goods and products all over the world.”

On Friday, the President spoke of the economic news and his policy proposals during a press conference in Lanham, MD. Here is the video from that event:

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