Obama's Job Council Hasn't Met For Over a Year

by Gerri Willis

 


One year ago, the President hosted a White House event aimed at showing voters he is serious about tackling unemployment.


He met with his "jobs council", a combination of academics, union reps, and CEOs.


Back then, unemployment was 8.5% and today it's fallen to 7.8%, but not enough.


I'd like to tell you that the jobs council is on the case trying to drive us to zero unemployment, but the truth is it hasn't met in a year!


The 26-member panel, officially known as the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, last convened on January 17, 2012.


Their mission expires at the end of the month unless Obama extends its tenure.


It's no surprise the group hasn't had that much traction.


It was led by GE CEO, Jeffrey Immelt.


While Immelt has his admirers, the company had received loads of negative press for cutting jobs at home while hiring overseas.


According to press reports, as we reported a year ago, In just one decade under Immelt's tenure, GE cut 34,000 jobs in the U.S. but added 25,000 overseas.


Also on the list: the CEO of American Express.        


The same month the council was formed, the credit card company announced plans to close a customer service center in North Carolina, cutting 1,500 jobs.


Internal tensions on the council led the group to not meet for months. After a flurry of sessions last January, it didn't meet again for six months.


CEOs and union leaders argued.


Some corporate chiefs didn't even want to be seen with the President at the height of the campaign.


Unbelievable. A jobs council that won't counsel!


What we needed was an effort to support the small business community in this country which employs 52% of all workers.


More than half.


99% of all independent enterprises employ fewer than 500 people.              


Getting a list of fortune 500 CEOs to fix the nation's jobs problem is like asking the Incredibles to fight crime in the real world.


It's nice, but not practical.