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Obama looking for ways to create jobs

President Barack Obama shakes hands with workers during a tour of the Fairfax County Parkway extension project Wednesday in Springfield, Va. Gerald Herbert / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Standing at the site of a highway project funded by his economic stimulus plan, President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is committed to exploring all avenues to create jobs.

Obama said his administration is going to keep going until "every single American in this country who's looking for work is going to be able to get the kind of well-paying job that supports their families."

Obama spoke from the top of a large mound of dirt and gravel, the site of a highway construction project in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington. He chose the site of the Fairfax County Parkway Extension project to feature the progress of the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

The project is the state's largest stimulus-funded project. When completed, it will connect both ends of Fairfax County.

While some businesses have credited the stimulus bill with preventing layoffs, the national unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent. Many economists have said unemployment could continue to rise.

The administration has stopped short of calling for a second economic stimulus package. But with the job picture slow to improve, Obama said his administration is moving forward on different fronts to boost the economy.

"We're going to continue to explore each and every avenue that I can think of that will lead to job creation and economic growth," he said while standing with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and four construction workers wearing hard hats.

Obama first visited the Fairfax County Parkway Extension project in February, when work was just beginning. He said the progress that's been made since then is just one example of the work that's being done to turn the economy around.

"We are moving in the right direction," he said.

The site is one of 8,000 road and bridge projects approved under the $787 billion economic stimulus bill Obama signed just after taking office. Construction is under way on nearly 5,000 of those projects. Obama said many are coming in 10 percent to 20 percent under budget, which will allow the government to invest in more projects.

Obama said the current phase of the Fairfax parkway project will create new private sector jobs. His goal, he said, is an economy "where our stock market isn't only rising again but our businesses are hiring again."

Critics question whether jobs created by the stimulus are worth the price tag and the debt the government has taken on to pay for it.