Barack Obama set out fresh plans to reinvigorate the US economy, focusing on incentives to small businesses and recruitment to bring down what he called the "staggering" 10% unemployment rate.
President Obama called for perhaps £92.6 billion or more in new government spending, using money left over from a financial rescue plan - the Troubled Asset Relief Programme - towards the small business community for investment and hiring.
He said more funds also would be sought from other sources for infrastructure improvements and rebates to consumers who made their homes more energy efficient.
Mr Obama has stepped up attention on America's high unemployment rate after spending much of the last few months focused mostly on health care and the war in Afghanistan. The state of the economy - and the jobless rate in particular - could be the key issue in determining whether Democrats preserve their majorities in both chambers of Congress in next November's mid-term elections.
Mr Obama hopes his revamped plan will dramatically improve the fortunes of millions of US families that have lost not only jobs, but also huge portions of retirement savings and, in many cases, seen their homes repossessed.
"Our work is far from done. For even though we have reduced the deluge of job losses to a relative trickle, we are not yet creating jobs at a pace to help all those families who have been swept up in the flood," the president said.
"There are more than seven million fewer Americans with jobs today than when this recession began. That's a staggering figure... ."
The US economy appears to be on the mend after the deepest downturn since at least the Second World War, but unemployment - which was slightly improved in November but still standing at 10% - and scarce credit for small businesses have left the electorate in a sour mood.
That could magnify the historic tendency of US voters to cast their ballot against members of Congress of the president's party in the first national balloting after a change in the White House.
And, hoping to blunt the political fears of fellow Democrats and the deep economic anxiety of the US public, Mr Obama sounded a call to optimism that harked back to President Roosevelt's leadership during the Great Depression.
"These have been a tough two years. And there will no doubt be difficult months ahead," Mr Obama said. "But the storms of the past are receding. The skies are brightening. And the horizon is beckoning once more."
And looking toward next year's vote, Mr Obama recounted the history of what his administration had done to prevent a repeat of the decade-long depression of the 1930s, pointedly criticising Republicans for mismanaging the economy.
"We were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve," he said.
The president noted that that new accounting showed the unpopular £432 billion TARP programme, designed to bail out the American financial sector, would end up costing the government £123 billion less than anticipated.
That money, he said, should be poured not only into reducing the national deficit, but for giving small businesses the incentives to invest and re-recruit.
The Republican opposition in Congress has said the money should all go for deficit reduction.
Mr Obama did not give specifics, but senior administration officials said part of the president's package would alter tax accounting temporarily to allow small business to report investments of up to 250,000 dollars as an expense, thus reducing reported income and taxes on the profits.
He also proposed elimination of fees on government-originated loans to small businesses coupled with government guarantees of those loans until the end of next year.
On infrastructure, measures focused on pushing money still not spent in the separate £486 billion Recovery Act into projects more quickly.