- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

President Obama said again Tuesday before departing to Michigan — which has the worst unemployment in the country — that he expects the U.S. jobless rate will increase.

The president has faced recent criticism about his $787 billion stimulus package not creating enough jobs to help pull the U.S. economy out of its deep recession. More than 2 million jobs have been lost since Congress passed the package in February.

The U.S. unemployment rate is now at 9.5 percent, the highest in 26 years. Mr. Obama, like most economists, expects the rate will reach 10 percent by the end of the year. Michigan has the highest rate a 14.1 percent, according to the Labor Department’s report for June.

Mr. Obama said he doesn’t have a “crystal ball” to see where unemployment will peak and that Michigan has been “battered” worse than other states.

The president, speaking in the Oval Office after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, pointed out unemployment numbers lag behind other economic indicators. He also said the biggest challenge for the U.S. and other countries is to create ample, well paying jobs.

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