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Associated Press, Published September 07 2009

Obama to name manufacturing adviser at union picnic

UPDATED 11:56 a.m.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Monday the country still faces a ``vast and complex' economic crisis and is pledging to work with business and labor to make things better.

In a Labor Day statement the White House released as he headed for a union picnic in Ohio, Obama voiced confidence that ``working Americans will help our nation emerge from this crisis.'

He also paid tribute in the holiday proclamation to the contributions that working people have made over the course of history, saying they have ``carried us through times of challenge and uncertainty.'

Obama chose a Labor Day union picnic in Cincinnati as the backdrop to announce his selection of Ron Bloom as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom planned to travel there with the president for an afternoon announcement at the AFL-CIO event.

Bloom was senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as part of the auto industry task force since February. Bloom, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously advised the United Steelworkers union and worked as an investment banker.

Bloom will work with the National Economic Council to lead policy development and planning for Obama's work to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, the White House said.

Obama's speech to union members was the first of at least three speeches this week.

Earlier Monday, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who will join Obama at the Ohio labor event, said Monday she sees ``stabilization occurring' in the job market, saying some sectors have shown improvement.

But in an interview on NBC's ``Today' show, Solis also said, ``It's certainly not somewhere where we need it to be right now.' She said the administration is deploying ``everything in our toolbox' to try to steady shaky labor markets, adding that job-training efforts will be stepped up this fall.

``I would first of all say that we understand that ... this number (9.7 jobless rate) is very unacceptable,' Solis said. ``What I would like to say this Labor Day is, 'Don't be discouraged. Come visit our offices, get to know our staff, figure out if you need to plan out a new job, a new career, get into a new education program.' ``

Obama's remarks were expected to touch on health care in advance of a Wednesday evening address to Congress on his proposed overhaul. On Tuesday, Obama will speak to American children as they begin the school year.

The AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic normally draws up to 20,000 people, union spokesman Eddie Vale said. AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and secretary-treasurer Richard Trumka were expected to welcome Obama to the gathering.

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