July 6, 2004
President Bush met with entrepreneurs from across the country on July 2 to discuss his small business agenda. Speaking from the East Room at the White House, Bush assessed the current state of the economy, including manufacturing activity and job creation.
Bush said, "We're here today to talk about the economic security of our fellow citizens. One of my most important jobs is to help create an environment in which the entrepreneurial spirit flourishes, because I believe that the fact that America is a heaven for the entrepreneur is one of the real strengths of our country. I know that when the entrepreneur feels confident, when the small business owner invests, it's more likely people will be able to find a job.
"The economy of the United States has been through a lot. If you really think about it, it's pretty remarkable to be able to stand up and say to you that our economy is strong and getting stronger, that we're witnessing steady, consistent growth. After all, we've been through a recession, a national emergency, a war, corporate scandals. We've got an economy that is changing. The nature of the job base is changing. And all that means it's been a difficult period of time. Yet we're strong, we're getting stronger. We're witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's important. We don't need boom or bust type growth, we want just steady, consistent growth, so that our fellow citizens will be able to find a job, and so that the small business sector will feel confident about expanding.
"Manufacturers are reporting increased activity more than any time in 20 years. We've had concern in the country about whether or not the manufacturing sector would remain vibrant and strong, and the reports are that the activity is as good as it's been over the past 20 years. That's a pretty good sign, isn't it? I was told today, reminded today that the Purchasing Managers Index is now above 60 for its eighth straight month. That doesn't mean anything unless you're somebody who follows all the numbers that comes out of Washington. But what it does mean is it confirms the notion that manufacturing activity is as good as it's been in 20 years. And that's very positive.
"Today we got a new job report out. The jobs increased by 112,000 in June, which means we've had a total of 1.5 million new jobs since last August. To me, that shows the steady growth. It's one thing to be reporting the GDP numbers are up; it's another thing to be able to say more Americans are working. And that's what we want. We want people going to work. We want people to -- we want people to be able to come home and say, boy, how was work; it was great," Bush said.