By Steve Holland
BALTIMORE, Jan 29 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday proposed $33 billion in tax credits to coax small businesses into hiring workers as he underscored his commitment to pushing job creation to the top of his agenda.
With public frustration over double-digit unemployment eroding his popularity, Obama has begun rolling out initiatives aimed at backing up his jobs pledge made in his economy-focused State of the Union Address earlier this week.
The latest proposal calls for a $5,000 tax credit for every net new worker hired in 2010. The amount would be capped at $500,000 per firm to make sure that the bulk of the benefits go to small businesses.
“The economy is growing but job growth is lagging,” Obama told workers at a custom-machine plant in Baltimore.
He spoke after the release of data showing U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a faster-than-expected 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, a trend he hailed as a “stark improvement” compared to economic decline a year ago.