President Meets With Jobs Council

President Obama on Tuesday met with members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

The White House said in a statement that the president discussed with council members “initiatives and policies to strengthen the economy, promote and accelerate job growth and bolster America’s competitiveness around the world.”

A weak labor market has plagued the first three years of the Obama administration with the unemployment rate hovering at or near 9%. The rate fell to 8.5% in December, the lowest since early in Obama's term. Jobs and the economy are certain to be the top priority of voters as they head to the polls in November's presidential election.

The Obama administration, according to the statement, has recently implemented several of the council’s recommendations, including policy efforts that support bringing jobs back to the United States and making government more efficient.

“The Jobs Council has been critical in finding new ways to encourage the private sector to hire and invest in American competitiveness. I'm proud that we’ve taken action on a majority of the Council’s recommendations on issues ranging from insourcing to permitting to clean energy. But we also know there's a lot more work to do, which is why we’re committed to continuing to invest in strategies that support job growth,” the president said in the statement.

The administration has so far taken action on 33 of 35 recommendations made by the council that don’t require legislative action. Sixteen of the recommendations have been fully implemented.

At Tuesday’s forum, the president announced that the administration would move forward with the Jobs Council’s recommendation to expand support for the SelectUSA program out of the Department of Commerce, the first federal program to promote investment in the U.S. in partnership with the states.

Specifically, the president will be proposing in his 2013 budget $12 million to increase SelectUSA to 35 full-time employees.

President Obama also discussed with council members his recent announcement to seek the authority from Congress to reorganize the government. The proposal to create “consolidation authority” would for the first time require that any reorganization proposal either reduce the size of government or cut costs.

On Friday, the president announced that if granted consolidation authority by Congress his first proposal would be to consolidate the six agencies focusing primarily on business and trade into a new department with one mission: to spur job creation and expand the U.S. economy.

The Jobs Council was formed last year and is made up of representatives from various areas from the private sector whose mission is to spur job growth.