Americans still need jobs, housing help: Obama

Updated: 2012-03-07 04:26


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WASHINGTON - While the US economy is "clearly" recovering, millions of Americans still need jobs and housing help, President Barack Obama said on Tuesday at a White House press conference.

"Now, we've clearly seen some positive economic news over the last few months," Obama said, adding that US businesses have created about 3.7 million new jobs over the last two years.

Though the US economy is getting stronger, there are still millions of Americans who can't find a job, and there are millions more having a tough time making the rent or the mortgage, the president noted.

To help responsible homeowners, Obama announced a new mortgage relief plan. Borrowers with house mortgages insured by the US Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will be able to refinance at half the fee that the agency currently charges, according to the plan.

This is Obama's latest move to help homeowners struggling with a depressed housing market, which also dragged down the whole economic recovery.

A typical FHA borrower who refinances his or her mortgage can save more than 1,000 US dollars a year from the changes, Obama said.

"It's like another tax cut that'll put more money in people's pockets," he added.

Obama also urged Congress to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, and use that money to reward businesses that are creating jobs in the nation.

In addition, he asserted that "no president facing re-election" would actually want to see gas prices spike, pushing back Republican criticism in this regard.

Recently, the US housing market has seen modest improvement. Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant, projected that the US housing sector this year would contribute to the economic growth for the first time in seven years.

However, many economists hold that the US housing market still needs years to recover entirely, saying that serious imbalance between supply and demand, tight mortgage credit, and overhang of empty and foreclosed homes would hinder the rebound of the market.