US President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday new efforts to boost job creation while on his three-day bus tour across the Midwestern United States. The White House said Obama is on a listening tour to hear from Americans about the economy and talk about how to boost jobs and hiring. With US unemployment mired at just above nine percent, jobs are expected to be the central issue for voters in next year\'s presidential and congressional elections. Obama plans to put forward a very specific plan for economic growth when Congress returns from summer recess in September, and challenged lawmakers to take action. He has repeatedly called for Congress to extend a payroll tax cut, finalize free-trade pacts, and promote infrastructure projects to create construction jobs. Obama will spend much of Tuesday at a rural economic forum in Iowa, and will unveil USD 350 million in funding for small businesses over the next 5 years - not the big plan to be presented to Congress next month, but help all the same. \"These are tough times for a lot of Americans -- including those who live in our rural communities,\" Obama will tell a townhall meeting in Peosta, Iowa, according to prepared remarks. At the forum, he will unveil a number of other ideas to boost the rural economy and its communities, including improving access to private capital, expanding job search and training services, and improving rural access to healthcare. The unmistakable campaign style of the trip will help the president test his organization and grassroots support as the field of Republican presidential candidates takes clearer shape. Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination on Saturday and immediately joined early front-runner Mitt Romney and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann in the top tier of candidates in the field. Obama, who began his three-day tour in Minnesota, visits Iowa and will end the tour in his home state of Illinois. He embarked on this bus tour along the back roads of the rural Midwest to press his case against Republicans. The US president won all three states in the 2008 presidential election, although Iowa has recently played host to Republicans vying to battle him for the White House next year who have been criticizing his record for ballooning US deficits.