US President Barack Obama on Saturday called for the private sector to create more jobs, but underlined the government's role in promoting professional education.
Job seekers wait in line to be interviewed during a one-day hiring event at a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco, California.
"Now, government is not -- and should not be -- the main engine of job-creation in this country. That’s the role of the private sector, " the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
"But one thing government can do is partner with the private sector to make sure that every worker has the necessary skills for the jobs they’re applying for," Obama added.
His comments came after Labor Department figures showed only 54,000 new jobs had been created in May, just a quarter of the February-April pace; the unemployment rate had edged up to 9.1 percent.
The White House and economists cautioned that the poor data was likely a monthly blip, but it has fueled allegations that Obama's economic policies are failing, 18 months ahead of the presidential election.
The president noted that the US economy had not got into what he called a "mess" overnight, and would not resolve its problems quickly.
"It’s going to take time," he warned.
Obama pointed to the importance of investing in wind power, solar power, and biofuels to make America less dependent on foreign oil and to clean up the environment.
"These are steps we know will make a difference in people’s lives -- not just twenty years from now, or ten years from now, but now, and in the months to come," the president said.