U.S. President Barack Obama says America's factories are "coming back to life." The president visited a recession-battered area in the central state of Indiana on Wednesday, to say his economic recovery plan is producing results.
With his poll numbers slipping and unemployment still high, President Obama is traveling again, to tell the American people that his Recovery Act is starting to work.
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama took that message to Wakarusa, Indiana, where unemployment is almost 17 percent. He spoke in a former recreational vehicle factory whose previous owner went bankrupt. The president said government grants are helping to convert that and other factories to plants where electric automobiles will be built.
"Just a few months ago, folks thought that these factories might be closed for good. But now they are coming back to life," the president said.
Mr. Obama said his $787 billion economic stimulus plan, enacted in February, includes grants that will create tens of thousands of jobs.
"2.4 billion dollars in highly competitive grants to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks, powered by the next generation of battery technologies -- all made right here in the U.S. of A," President Obama said.
The president has been promoting his recovery plan, not only as a way to improve the U.S. economy, but as a way to make American industries more competitive with those overseas.
"I don't want to have to import a hybrid car. I want to be able to build a hybrid car here," Mr. Obama said. "I do not want to have to import a hybrid truck. I want to build a hybrid truck here. I don't want to have to import a windmill from someplace else. I want to build a windmill right here in Indiana."
U.S. unemployment was 9.5 percent in June -- its highest level in 26 years. New figures are due on Friday, and the White House has been warning that joblessness will get worse before it improves. Also, a new survey indicates that the services sector, a major part of the U.S. economy, shrank more quickly in July than in June.
Other economic reports show signs of recovery. The Commerce Department says orders placed at U.S. factories increased in June, for a third straight month.
Opposition Republicans say the president's initiatives are pushing the country deeper into debt.
Mr. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials have been holding events in several states, promoting the results of the Recovery Act.