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Mr. Roberts gave the president grades of C-minus on income growth, an F on homeownership and a C on boosting household net worth.

Michael Strain, an economist at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said the economy “is certainly better than it was when the president took office.”

“It’s important for conservatives to acknowledge that things have gotten better across a number of indicators,” Mr. Strain said. “Certainly there’s been progress, but not nearly enough. The labor market should be public policy No. 1; that’s our most immediate problem.”

Among the problems that persist are unacceptably high jobless rates, especially for minorities. The unemployment rate for blacks is also worse than it was when Mr. Obama arrived at the White House. In January 2009, the black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent; last month, it was 13.7 percent. Its peak was 16.7 percent in August 2011.

Far more people are on food stamps than when Mr. Obama became president.

Industrial production has risen, but it hasn’t reached the level where it was before Mr. Obama took office. Auto sales and the housing industry have shown marked improvement, and the stock market has been setting record highs, spurred by strong corporate earnings and Fed action that has kept interest rates low on bonds.

Curtis Dubay, an economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the economy would have had a stronger rebound if Mr. Obama had not engaged in “anti-business” rhetoric for most of his first term.

“It’s basically uncertainty holding the economy back right now,” Mr. Dubay said. “He had an anti-business stance for four years, whether it was Wall Street or the casino industry or the health care industry. Then you throw in three sets of policy uncertainty — Obamacare, Dodd-Frank [financial sector regulation] and his refusal to address our looming debt crisis driven by entitlements.”

Given those factors, Mr. Dubay said, the economy is likely to “keep muddling along.”

“We’re growing, but we’re growing slowly,” he said.

The selection of Galesburg, Ill., as the site of the president’s Wednesday’s speech is not accidental. As a senator, Mr. Obama gave the commencement address in 2005 to Knox College. The speech is considered to be one of his first to address economic policy.