KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Five years after the start of the so-called Great Recession, President Barack Obama will travel to Missouri on Friday to tout what his administration believes to be the best examples of an economy now in recovery, and discuss ways to create jobs and stimulate growth through the global export economy.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker told 41 Action News on Thursday that the president's selection of Liberty's new Ford plant for Friday's remarks reflects the administration's pride in an industry stabilized in no small part by federal intervention during the depths of the recession.
"I think the president's message is one about first celebrating the success of the auto industry," Pritzker said, before ticking off several other economic indicators lately on the mend, including housing, domestic energy production and the growth of the export economy.
While Ford was the only major domestic automaker never to accept a federal bailout, the $250 million dollar Liberty facility set to open in 2014 has still benefited from government largess, in the form of state and local incentives.
The facility will bring 250 new jobs, many requiring advanced training and skills, with commensurate pay.
"Job creation requires investment," Pritzker said, after pointing to federal efforts to invest in skills training. "Job creation requires investing in individuals."
Pritzker sounded a pro-business, pro-export message repeatedly in a ten minute interview including when asked how the president might address those Missourians who don't feel any economic recovery in their own lives.
"Well that's one of the reasons that we're focusing on helping companies find new markets," Pritzker said. "So that, you know, as goes their investment, as goes companies' growth goes the opportunity to create jobs. That's what we want to see companies doing is growing and creating jobs, and that happens when there's more demand, when you're able to find new markets for your products; hence the focus on trade and exports."
In a visit to Warrensburg, Mo., this summer, the president touched on several pillars of success in the American middle class.
According to Pritzker, Friday's event, which will not be open to the general public and will include a factory tour, will have a much tighter focus on business and commerce, as opposed to healthcare and retirement security.
"I think it's a multi-dimensional message because the economy is multi-dimensional," Pritzker said.