The nation is facing an unemployment crisis. In December 2009, the unemployment rate was flat at 10 percent. The Department of Labor will be releasing January 2010 unemployment figures in about a week. I know that everyone is hoping to see unemployment rates drop back into the single digits again, including President Obama. In last night’s State of the Union address, the president discussed the jobs crisis as well as how the Recovery Act and the bank bailout quite possibly saved us from financial catastrophe.

Earlier this week, Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn released a report that lambasted the Recovery Act for being wasteful. However, during his State of the Union address, President Obama assured Americans that yes, the Recovery Act is working.

“That's right — the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. (Applause.) Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don't have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.“ Source: White House

Not only did the president discuss the importance of job creation, he continually stressed the importance of clean energy job creation. Clean energy jobs were discussed throughout the speech. The president wants to ensure that new clean energy manufacturing facilities are created here in the United States and not abroad. This step will not only employ those who build clean energy manufacturing facilities but it will also provide good green jobs to those who work in the clean energy industry.

While China, Germany and India are working towards a clean energy economy, the United States is lagging behind. While discussing this topic, President Obama said, “Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” We need to get investors rallied around the importance of a clean energy economy, and we need to get legislators working towards the same goal. Yes, a climate bill.

“I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. “ Source: White House

As 2010 progresses, I hope that we can look back and see an increase in clean energy manufacturing investing, that we have a climate bill we can all be proud of, and that unemployed Americans are back to work helping build a new clean energy economy.

Also on MNN: Obama eager to advance climate bill

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