(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- On a day when unemployment in the U.S. got a little worse, the President visited a Chrysler assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, Friday to tell workers his policies helped to save their jobs.
Mr. Obama did not directly address the tenth of a percent increase in unemployment to 9.1 percent. He would only say, "There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery."
And he added, "This economy took a big hit. You know, it's just like if -- if -- if you had a bad illness; if you got hit by -- by a truck, you know, it's going to take a while for you to mend. And that's what's happened to our economy. It's taking a while to mend."
The President said there are still some head winds that are coming at us.
This is the second anniversary of the Chrysler bankruptcy that caused the government to invest around $11 billion in the company. The President told the employees that all of the taxpayer money spent on Chrysler during his administration has now been repaid and the company will soon be free of U.S. government involvement and completely back in private hands.
Mr. Obama warned that if Chrysler had been allowed to fail the consequences would have been severe. "By the time the dominoes stopped falling, more than a million jobs and countless communities in a proud industry that helped build America's middle class for generations wouldn't have been around anymore," he said.
Chrysler Group's Toledo operations employ more than 1,700 workers producing the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro. The plant re-opened after the government bailout. The President said more than 3,000 auto industry jobs are tied to the Toledo operation, as well as hundreds more jobs in business that serve auto workers.
Mr. Obama said what the Chrysler employees did has vindicated his faith in the American worker. "So this industry is back on its feet, repaying its debts, gaining ground," said the President. "Because of you, we can once again say that the best cars in the world are built right here in the U.S. of A."
The US government has spent $80 billion to bail out GM and Chrysler. To date $40 billion has been repaid. In the end the government expects the bailout will cost taxpayers $14 billion.
Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy, 115,000 jobs have been added in the auto industry.
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