US economy emerges as strongest, most durable in world: Obama

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Washington, Dec 16: American economy has emerged as most "durable" in the world, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday, underlining that his government's actions eight years ago stemmed the tide of the Great Depression and laid the foundation for a stronger economy.

"Today, thanks to the resilience of the American people, our economy has emerged as the strongest and most durable in the world. By nearly every economic measure, America is better off than when I took office," Obama said in his last annual economic report sent to the Congress.

US economy emerges as strongest: Obama

"We are in the midst of the longest streak of job growth on record. US businesses have added 15.6 million jobs since early 2010," he said, adding that the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half from its peak, falling much faster than economists expected.

Rising home prices have brought millions of homeowners back above water, we are less reliant on foreign oil than we have been in nearly three decades, and we have cut our budget deficit by two-thirds as a share of the economy, he said.

Sending the voluminous report, the US President reminded the Congress of the dire economic situation when he entered the White House some eight years ago.

"Eight years ago when I took office, our economy was in crisis. We were just months into the worst recession since the Great Depression, with unemployment rising rapidly toward a peak of 10 per cent," he said.

Nearly 800,000 Americans were losing their jobs each month, and home prices and the stock market had plummeted. The auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Many American families struggled to pay their bills, and millions had lost their homes, he added.

"Faced with this crisis, my Administration acted quickly, taking steps to shore up the financial system; cut taxes for working families; invest in infrastructure, clean energy, and teacher jobs; help families refinance their homes; and rescue the auto industry," Obama wrote.

These actions stemmed the tide of the crisis and laid the foundation for a stronger economy over the long term, he stressed, but quickly added that this is not enough as his successor needs to do more.

"As I pass the baton to my successor, much work remains to continue strengthening our economy and, most importantly, lifting wages for working families. It is no secret that our openness to new ideas and inclusivity are part of what make the United States the most resilient economy in the world," Obama said in his four-page introductory note to the voluminous report running into nearly 600 pages.

"Continuing our technological progress and innovation, engaging with the world economy through trade, and welcoming immigrants and new American families will create shared growth and help define our economy for the coming decades," he said.

The first step is to make smart, long-term investments that raise productivity, like boosting funding for infrastructure and research and development, he noted.

"We must also promote competition and innovation in the economy and open new markets for American businesses through high-standards trade agreements," Obama asserted.

PTI

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