VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. - US President Barack Obama is finalizing a jobs package that could include a program to refurbish school buildings nationwide and tax breaks to encourage firms to hire workers.
The package, to be unveiled in early September, is Obama's chance to convince skeptical voters he can bring down the 9.1 percent unemployment rate and steer the United States away from another recession -- ahead of next year's election.
Critics say the president, who bailed out the auto industry and spent $860 billion to revive the economy after he took office in 2009, has few jobs-boosting options and will have a hard time getting Republicans to accept any new spending plan.
But economists and advisers familiar with his strategy say Obama will argue next month that the financial crisis was worse than anyone thought at the time and say more stimulus is needed to make any real dent in the unemployment rate.