Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 17:31 UK

Obama pledges 600,000 summer jobs

Mr Obama said his stimulus package would deliver 3.5 million jobs

US President Barack Obama has said his $787bn stimulus package will deliver more than 600,000 jobs this summer.

The pledge comes as an increase in federal spending for key stimulus components, like hiring new teachers, is about to begin.

"We have a long way to go on our road to recovery but we are going the right way," Mr Obama said.

He has said that 150,000 jobs have been saved by his plan, a claim derided by critics of the stimulus.

Mr Obama promised the stimulus plan would create 3.5 million jobs when the plan was approved in February.

Since then, more than 1.6 million people have lost their jobs, although the rate of job loss slowed in May.

Projects begin

The better weather in the summer means that more public construction works will come through, and federal agencies have processed more requests from state agencies.

The projects the Obama administration pointed to included maintenance projects at military bases, 1,600 state road and airport improvement projects, and money to hire 135,000 school teachers and support staff.

Mr Obama promised there would be an increase in federal spending over the next few months, which would counter job losses as a result of the deep recession.

The US jobless rate was 9.4% in May, the highest since 1983, and up from 8.9% in April.

The US economy has shrunk for three consecutive quarters, the first time that has happened since 1975.

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