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Obama Calls Jobs Report 'Positive News,' Makes Economic Personnel Announcements

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Friday called the jobs numbers released Friday morning "positive news," but noted there is still work to be done on the economy.  The jobs report showed a drop in the nation's unemployment rate to 9.4 percent.

“Overall, the decline in the unemployment rate is positive news, but it only underscores the importance of us not letting up on our efforts,” President Obama said from the factory floor of Thompson Creek Manufacturing in Landover, Maryland.

“We know these numbers can bounce around from month to month, but the trend is clear,” Obama said noting that this makes 12 straight months of private-sector job growth for the first time since 2006, “The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year, and each quarter was stronger than the previous quarter, which means that the pace of hiring is beginning to pick up.”

The president said they are seeing “optimistic” economic forecasts for the year ahead -- he said in part due to the tax cuts package he signed into law last month, including a payroll-tax cut for workers and tax breaks to encourage investment, innovation and hiring in businesses.

“I fought for that package because, even though our economy is recovering, we've still got a lot to do,” the president said, “So even though we've created 1.3 million jobs, we've saved a whole lot of jobs, you've still got a whole bunch of folks who are out there looking, still struggling. We've got a big hole that we're digging ourselves out of.

As expected the president made four economic personnel announcements -- all of whom stood with him on stage – which he dubbed the people who would “help America fulfill this mission,” to put people back to work.

Declaring him a man of “decency and integrity,” President Obama appointed Treasury official Gene Sperling as director of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers.

“One of the reasons I've selected Gene is, he's done this before. This is his second tour of duty heading up the NEC,” Obama said of Sperling who headed the NEC under the Clinton administration, “And in his tenure in the Clinton administration during the late '90s, he helped formulate the policies that contributed to turning deficits to surpluses and a time of prosperity and progress for American families in a sustained way. “

Mr. Obama also elevated Jason Furman to be principal deputy at the National Economic Council, himself a two-year veteran of the White House already -- to work alongside Sperling.

The president also announced his nomination of Heather Higginbottom is currently the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council, to now serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“She understands the relationship between numbers on a ledger and the lives of real people. As we make cuts that are necessary to rein in the deficit, I want to make sure I've got Heather there so that we're meeting our fundamental obligations to our people and to our economy, as well.”

And rounding out the personnel announcements the president also nominated Katharine Abraham to the Council of Economic Advisers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio