WASHINGTON – The following is a transcript of President Bush's radio address to the nation on Saturday:
Good morning. This week I visited the city of Chicago. In that great city, and across America, our strong and growing economy is creating jobs and delivering prosperity to more of our people.
In the Chicago area, businesses have added more than 74,000 new jobs over the past two years. And in Illinois, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 percent, the lowest rate there in over 5-and-a-half years.
We have good news about our national economy, as well. On Friday, we learned that the American economy created 121,000 new jobs in June, and it has created over 5.4 million jobs since August 2003. We now have added jobs for 34 straight months, and the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent.
In the first quarter of 2006, our economy grew at an impressive annual rate of 5.6 percent. This follows our economic growth of 3.5 percent in 2005, the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation. And because taxes are low, our workers are keeping more of the money they earn.
Behind each of these positive statistics are countless stories — stories of workers who start each day with hope because they have a job that will help them build a better life; 10:07:19 stories of families with more money in the bank for college tuition, or a down payment on a home; stories of small business owners who know they can hire more workers and grow with confidence.
Our economic expansion is lifting the lives of millions of Americans, and to keep this expansion going, we must maintain the pro-growth, low-tax policies that helped to launch it in the first place.
The tax relief we delivered has helped unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of America and kept our economy the envy of the world. So I will continue to work with Congress to make that tax relief permanent.
Our economy is also thriving because America remains the world's most innovative nation.
During my trip to Illinois, I visited a company called Cabot Microelectronics, which makes products for manufacturing semiconductor chips and other high-tech components.
Cutting-edge firms like Cabot are creating good jobs for our workers and helping to keep America competitive in the global economy.
To help companies like Cabot maintain our nation's competitive edge, I proposed my American Competitiveness Initiative. This initiative will double federal funding for research in promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.
The initiative will also encourage bolder private sector investment in technology, and help ensure that every American child has the math and science skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow.
Last month, the House of Representatives approved full funding for the basic research component of this initiative. I urge the Senate to follow the House's lead, so America can remain an innovative nation that competes with confidence.
Americans are living in times of great hope and great opportunity. By keeping our taxes low, keeping our country competitive, and keeping this a welcoming nation, we will add to our prosperity, and we will create a better America for future generations.
Thank you for listening.