The US economy is in much better shape than it was four years ago, but the progress made is not irreversible and the nation still has a long way to go, the White House has said.
"The (US) economy is not in a worse place than it was before. If you talk about the comparison between now and when he (US President Barack Obama) gave his first State of the Union address, there is no comparison," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference last night.
"We were in economic free fall. We are at a moment when the economy is poised to continue to grow, to continue to build on the progress we've made, to continue to build on the job creation over 6.1 million jobs created by our businesses over the past 35 or 36 months," he said.
Obama in his State of the Union Address last night said he will continue to focus on economy and job creation.
"I've said many times that his principal preoccupation as President has been the need to first reverse the devastating decline in our economy.
"Then to set it on a trajectory where it's growing in a way that helps the middle class, makes it more secure, and makes it expand so that those who are trying to reach into the middle -- to climb the ladder, if you will, into the middle class -- have that opportunity.
"That is absolutely going to be his focus in the second term as it was in the first term," Carney said.
"The President's principal preoccupation since he ran for this office, beginning in 2007, has been what we need to do to make our economy work for the middle class, to help expand the middle class; to give average Americans the opportunities they need to help this economy grow and to help it be as strong and dominant in the 21st century as it was in the 20th," he said.
"You'll hear that again in the State of the Union Address tomorrow night," Carney said.
He, however, refuted media reports that Obama would come out with new proposals on nuclear non-proliferation.
"The President made clear publicly his desire to further reduce nuclear arms. I don't think there was anything new in the story that suggested to the contrary.
"His commitment to arms control and nuclear reductions is well known. But I do not anticipate a new announcement in