New York, Jan 22 (Agencies): President Barack Obama has said the US economy is growing once again after a number of years, but cautioned that it still has a long way to go to make up for the damage done by the financial meltdown.
"The economy is now growing again," Obama said in his speech after visiting the General Electric (GE) plant in Schenectady in New York; which is considered the birth place of this fortune 500 company.
"Over the last year, businesses have added more than a million jobs. The pace of hiring and growth is picking up, and that's encouraging news," he said.
At the same time, while businesses are adding jobs, millions of people are still looking for work, Obama noted. "And even here in Schenectady, as well as GE is doing, I know everybody here knows a neighbour or friend or relative who's still out of work."
"It is a great thing that the economy is growing, but it's not growing fast enough yet to make up for the damage that was done by the recession," he said, adding that the past two years were about pulling the economy back from the brink and the next two years would see Americans put their economy into overdrive.
"Our job is to do everything we can to ensure that businesses can take root and folks can find good jobs and America is leading the global competition that will determine our success in the 21st century," Obama said.
To help fulfil this new mission, he said he is assembling a new group of business leaders and outside advisers. As part of this, Obama said, he has named Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and Chairman of General Electric, as Chair of President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, according to the White House.
"I am so proud and pleased that Jeff has agreed to chair this panel -- my Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- because we think GE has something to teach businesses all across America," he said.
In the coming days, Obama would be announcing the business leaders, labour leaders, economists and others who will join with Immelt to help guide his administration into that overdrive mode.
 "I know this council will be an important asset as we seek to do everything we can to spur hiring and ensure our nation can compete with anybody on the planet.
"That means spurring innovation in growing industries like clean energy manufacturing, the kind of stuff that's being done right here at this plant; ensuring our economy isn't held back by crumbling roads and broken-down infrastructure," he said.