Washington: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to study Science, Maths and Engineering to keep away job-hungry students in India and China.

'Today only 14 percent of all undergraduate students enroll in what we call the STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering, and math,' Obama said on Monday at a Durham, North Carolina-based company that uses LED technology to produce fuel-efficient lighting.

'So these are the jobs of the future.  These are the jobs that China and India are cranking out,' he said continuing a year-long push to present his vision for the economy as US unemployment remains above nine percent.

'Those students are hungry because they understand if they get those skills they can find a good job, they can create companies, they can create businesses, create wealth.  And we're falling behind in the very fields we know are going to be our future,' Obama lamented.

'We can do better than that. We must do better than that. If we're going to make sure the good jobs of tomorrow stay in America, stay here in North Carolina, we need to make sure all our companies have a steady stream of skilled workers to draw from,' he said.

Obama also urged US companies to invest in making their buildings more energy efficient, which he said would save them money that they could then use to hire workers.

The president acknowledged Americans' worry that the economy is not recovering quickly enough.

'The single most serious economic problem we face is getting people back to work,' he said, but, 'we're going to get there.' He said he was optimistic about the future.

Agencies