In early April, President Obama announced his plans to seek re-election in November of next year. In an e-mail to supporters, Mr. Obama said "the race may not reach full speed for a year or more." But he said the work of building the campaign "must start today."Some of that work will depend on how many jobs are created in the months ahead. Mr. Obama welcomed a report that the United States economy added two hundred sixteen thousand jobs in March. The unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of one percent for the second straight month. The unemployment rate edged down to 8.8 percent, the lowest in two years. And some economists say this spring may be the start of better news to come. Consumer spending has been increasing.Stephen Hess is a political scientist who studies the presidency at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He says, "The next election will, more than anything else, depend on employment in the United States."Labor Secretary Hilda Solis pointed out that the economy has added jobs for twelve months in a row. She says the economy has added a million and a half private sector jobs. But, she added, "we need to continue to not lose sight of where we need to go to increase opportunities for people to get employed in new jobs." President Obama has filled a top job in his party as he prepares to seek a second term. He chose Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida to head the Democratic National Committee. She replaces Tim Kaine who plans to run for the Senate from Virginia next year. Among Republicans, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty recently formed a committee to explore a presidential campaign. Several other Republicans are also considering races for their party's nomination. The latest jobs report showed that thirteen and a half million Americans remained unemployed in March. Another concern is that oil prices remained over one hundred dollars a barrel. High energy prices could threaten the recovery from the recession. In another development, Portugal became the latest member of the European Union with heavy debts to request emergency loans. Portugal joined Greece and Ireland which have also received aid. Portuguese opposition parties refused to accept budget cuts proposed by Prime Minister Jose Socrates. For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. For more ways to learn American English and stay informed every day, go to voaspecialenglish.com from your computer or mobile device.
(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 08Apr2011)