Obama Touts Recovery in Truck Facility Tour

Obama Touts Recovery in Truck Facility Tour

President Obama used a visit to a commercial truck dealership outside Washington, D.C., Friday to highlight how the economic recovery has spurred hiring in equipment suppliers to the freight sector.

Obama and Vice President Biden on June 5 toured the K. Neal International site in Hyattsville, Md., which sells heavy-duty, medium-duty and severe service trucks.

In remarks to employees of the dealership, Obama said owner Stephen Neal “told me that rental and lease sales have improved, that there’s pent-up demand out there for new equipment and you’ve added workers over the last few months. And Stephen said if things keep on going well, he’ll add more in the months ahead.”

Also attending the event was Daniel Ustian, president and CEO of truck builder Navistar. The company makes the International brand; K. Neal sells International, Hino and Mitsubishi trucks.

Obama said Navistar recently delivered the first electric-powered delivery truck made at its Indiana plant, and aided by funding from last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Labor Department reported Friday the U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent in May from 9.9 percent in April, mainly because the government hired over 400,000 short-term workers for the next census.

Labor also reported a 15,000 gain in actual trucking industry payrolls for the month, the third straight increase for the largest freight transport mode after trucking jobs bottomed out in February.

Obama said although much hiring in May was for temporary census workers, various government policies from ARRA to tax incentives for hiring jobless workers to investing in clean energy technologies are taking hold. For the truck dealership owner, the president said stimulus money last winter “helped him keep folks on the job that otherwise might have lost their jobs.”

Contact John Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.