In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says the first step is for Congress to extend unemployment insurance for those without work.
The president also points to a new initiative to boost high-tech manufacturing and other steps he plans to announce next week to put people back to work.
Obama's message comes after the government reported just 74,000 new jobs in December and a dip in unemployment that's fueled by people giving up their search for work.
In the Republican address, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi is pushing for Obama's health care law to be repealed or defunded. He says the nation should go back to the drawing board.