Amid Obama Renewed Focus on Jobs, Top Economic Aide Departs

President Obama said goodbye Tuesday to a top member of his economic team as the White House announced that Ron Bloom will be stepping down as Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy at the end of August.

"For the past two and a half years, Ron Bloom's leadership and expertise has helped us put America's automakers back on the road to recovery, launch new partnerships to make our manufacturers more competitive, and set aggressive fuel economy standards that will save consumers and businesses money at the pump," the president said in a statement. "I'm grateful for his service, and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Bloom's departure comes at a pivotal time. With the debt ceiling debate in his rear-view mirror, Mr. Obama is zeroing in on job creation and sees the manufacturing sector as a ripe market.

"Over the past 13 years, about a third of our manufacturing jobs have vanished," Mr. Obama lamented at an Iowa aluminum plant in June.

"It's not just that they've gone overseas, it's also that you guys are just better at producing stuff now than you used to be, so you use fewer workers...a big part of our future has to be a robust and growing manufacturing sector. We've got to make things right here in America," he said.

The president's performance on the economy is central to his re-election, a sentiment not lost on him as he embarks on a three-day bus tour to Midwest, beginning on August 15, where he'll talk to locals about how to strengthen the economy and create jobs.

Bloom was a central player in the government bailout and restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler and led their oversight in the aftermath.

He will be returning home to Pittsburgh, where his family resides.

"I am confident in this Administration's ability to build on these accomplishments and continue our efforts to revitalize the manufacturing sector," Bloom said Tuesday.

A replacement has not been named.