State of union in 2016: Strong job market, middling economy

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, to a nation with a burgeoning job market, flat wages and two things that to the president's dismay are rising: global temperatures and Americans' concerns about terrorism. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address to a nation whose economy is far sturdier than it was when he took office in 2009 during the Great Recession.

The economy created a healthy 2.65 million jobs last year. Yet as 2016 begins, that’s accompanied by tepid economic growth and stubbornly flat wages.

More broadly, two things are on the rise, to the president’s dismay: global temperatures and Americans’ concerns about terrorism.

The Dow Jones industrial average had its worst year since 2008.

But in good news for consumers, drivers were paying a U.S. average of $2.03 for a gallon of regular gas last week.

And homebuyers’ mortgage interest rates are at a relatively low 3.97 percent. That’s well south of the historic 6 percent average.

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