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23 April 2024

Obama to ask US firms to keep jobs at home

By Reuters

President Barack Obama will press US business leaders next week to expand their industries at home rather than outsourcing jobs abroad, extending an election-year push to fight high unemployment.

The White House sees an increasing trend of companies deciding to "insource" jobs and invest in US-based plants and factories, according to a White House official. It wants to encourage more businesses to follow that trend, the official said.

The emphasis on keeping US jobs at home is in line with a populist economic message that Obama has championed that could play well with union workers, whose support the Democratic president will need to win re-election in November.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will host an event at the White House on Wednesday with business executives to highlight the advantages of investing in the United States, the official said.

"The president will meet with business leaders, as well as experts on the topic, to discuss why it's competitive to locate in the United States and what more can be done to work with companies to take similar steps to insource American jobs," the official said.

More than a dozen large and small businesses will attend the event, including padlock maker Master Lock, furniture company Lincolnton Furniture, software application developer GalaxE Solutions, and chemicals company DuPont.

The practice of US firms moving jobs to foreign countries such as India and China, where labor is cheaper, is a source of concern to many U.S. workers, especially in the manufacturing sector, which was hit hard by the economic downturn.

Persistently high US unemployment is the top concern of voters in the 2012 election. The White House was encouraged by the December jobs report, released on Friday, which showed a drop in the jobless rate to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly three years.