White House Shutters Obama's Jobs Council

By FOXBusiness

The President’s jobs council, comprised of high-profile CEOs but often a source of criticism and derision during Barack Obama's first term, is shutting down this week.

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The Council on Jobs and Competitiveness was created in January 2011 amid 9% unemployment and a broad feeling the Obama administration needed to develop a closer relationship with the business community.

But Republicans and other critics said the council didn't meet enough to be effective and offered the stumbling U.S. economy as proof.

The administration said Thursday that the council was never intended to last more than 2 years.

“The recommendations of the Jobs Council were considered in the context of the President’s broader economic policy and job creation agenda, and while we didn’t agree with every one of their ideas, most of their recommendations were acted on by the administration,” an administration spokesman said in an e-mail to FOX Business Network.

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Some Republicans took a different approach.

Senator Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky), a frequent critic of the president, said on the floor of the Senate Thursday: “One thing the President could have done instead of wasting so much time blaming others would have been to convene the Jobs Council he created amidst so much fanfare. He hasn’t done that for more than a year. In fact, from what I understand, the council is expected to disband today after having met only four times since 2011.”

Unemployment has dropped steadily since January 2011 and stands today at 7.8%, still much higher than the president or either party is comfortable with.

Economic news has been lousy in recent weeks after several months of optimistic data. On Wednesday the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1%  during the fourth quarter of 2012, the first quarterly drop since 2009.

Following that announcement the Federal Reserve conceded what everyone else was already thinking, issuing a statement saying economic growth seems to have slowed down in recent months.

The administration spokesman said in the e-mail to FOX Business that the president will use progress made by the jobs council to continue outreach efforts to the business community.

“Progress made by the Jobs Council on a number of specific policy issues has helped determine the next phase of our engagement with the business community and other outside groups on growth, jobs and competitiveness. Today, we are announcing that the White House will begin a new, expanded effort to work with the business community and other outside groups to advance specific policy priorities promoted the Jobs Council,” the e-mail said.