The U.S. economy has taken major strides this year in rebounding from the Great Recession, Obama administration officials said Thursday.
Calling 2014 a "milestone" year in the recovery, National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients noted that economic growth has averaged 4.2 percent over the last two quarters, the strongest six-month period in over a decade. Other economic bright spots include rising home prices, a reduction in the nation's foreclosure rate and a burst in job-creation, he said.
"We've already added more jobs, 2.65 million jobs, this calendar year through November than any full calendar year since 1990," said Zients, who joined U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, in a media briefing to highlight the Obama regime's accomplishments.
Job growth this year has been taking place in sectors with higher-than-average wages, Zients said, such as business services, technology and manufacturing. The rate of new jobs added by manufacturers, at roughly 15,000 per month, is currently double last year's pace.
President Barack Obama declared 2014 to be a "year of action" on the economy, and his representatives were keen to point out their policy successes, such as increased federal investment in advanced manufacturing research. Implementing the president's economic vision, said Perez, will ensure that economic growth "results in shared prosperity, in an economy that works for everybody."
"And the road to shared prosperity means, among other things, giving people the skills and training they need to punch their ticket to the middle class," he added, "and it means doing everything possible to ensure that hard work is rewarded with a fair wage."
Muñoz outlined some of the affordable education initiatives underway to help lower-wage workers and their families find a foothold on the "important road to middle class security."
One important factor contributing to these economic milestones, Zeints said, was the relative lack of budget battles this past year between Congress and the Obama Administration. In recent years such disputes have undermined investor and consumer confidence in the U.S. economy.
"These self-inflicted wounds have a real impact on the economy," he said.