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Obama on jobs: 'Worst of the storm is over'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - President Barack Obama, highlighting Friday's government report that showed the U.S. economy last month created the most jobs in three years, declared the "worst of the storm is over."

"We are beginning to turn the corner," the president said in a speech at a battery-parts manufacturer in North Carolina. "Today's job numbers, while welcome, leave us with a lot more work to do."

Obama spoke in a state where the February unemployment rate was 11.2 percent. The nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.

"It's not quick, and it's not easy," Obama added. "The truth is there are some limits to what government can do. Government can't reverse the toll of this recession overnight."

The economy needs to create about 140,000 jobs each month to keep pace with labor force growth, according to Peter Morici, former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

After his remarks, Obama took almost 45 minutes of questions from local workers in the audience on subjects including the health-care legislation he signed this week, corporate accounting regulations, and his Wednesday announcement of expanded offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

Before his speech to workers, Obama toured the manufacturing plant of Celgard Llc, a unit of Charlotte-based Polypore International Inc., which makes electric-car battery components. Celgard got a $49-million stimulus program grant from the Energy Department last year to create jobs and promote advanced battery production for electric vehicles.

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