Obama Cautious On Job Creation

President Barack Obama takes part in an Internet town hall meeting, March 26, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

President Barack Obama says job-creation in America is difficult in a time of economic hardship and that the work of the future should be in more high-paying, high-skill areas like clean energy technology.

The comment comes as the Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of new jobless claims rose to 652,000 last week. The total number of people claiming benefits for more than a week jumped 122,000 to 5.56 million, significantly higher than analysts' projections of 5.48 million and the highest on records dating back to 1967.

The Commerce Department also reported Thursday that the economy shrank at a pace of 6.3 percent for the 4th quarter of 2008.

Mr. Obama was asked at his virtual town hall meeting Thursday when people can expect a return of jobs that have been outsourced to other nations. He said the United States has suffered a "massive loss of jobs" because of the deep recession and the turmoil in the financial industry.

Mr. Obama also said many of the lost jobs in recent years involve work that was done by people getting very low wages and those with limited work skills. He said it will take some time - perhaps through the rest of the year - before vigorous hiring resumes, and that might not happen until businesses see evidence the economy is rebounding.

Mr. Obama said that "not all of these jobs are going to come back" and that may not be a bad thing.

"It probably wouldn't be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back, because, frankly, there's no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs."

Mr. Obama stressed the importance of developing the "high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future."

"That's why it's so important to train our folks more effectively and that's why it's so important for us to find new industries, building solar panels or wind turbines or the new biofuel that involve these higher-value, higher-skill, higher-paying jobs," he said.
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