With concerns over unemployment continuing despite last Friday’s rosier-than-expected numbers from the Labor Department, last Thursday President Obama held a “jobs summit” for 130 business leaders, union leaders and economists at the White House. The forum’s goal was to discuss ideas that could help create jobs.
The Washington Post reports Obama addressed a list of proposals including small-business incentives, easing regulatory restrictions for exporters, and providing tax credits for employers. Obama said many of these proposals would create jobs right away, without requiring big expenditures by the federal government.
While many Democrats have urged direct federal investment in creating jobs, specifically by focusing on public works and infrastructure projects, Obama, dealing with a $1.4 trillion federal deficit, has said he does not have the budget for this approach. At the forum, he said that job growth depends on private business, not government: “Ultimately, true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector.”
After the forum, attendees split into six groups to discuss job creation solutions. At a session titled “Creating Jobs through the Rebuilding of America’s Infrastructure,” Obama said big infrastructure jobs are not the best way to create jobs fast. He added, what “we’ve been seeing is that what is good long-term may not necessarily work as an immediate, short-term stimulus.”
Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed ideas including more unemployment assistance, a jobs tax credit, state aid, additional infrastructure spending and tax cuts for small businesses and a public jobs program. Democrats in the House hope to pass a package this month.
At the event’s end, Obama was happy with the number of ideas generated, some of which, he said, can be translated “immediately into administration plans and, potentially, legislation.” The president is expected to present details of his administration’s preferred ideas later this week.
Not that we can expect instant results. “I think the president is between a rock and a hard place here,” said Carl Schramm, chief executive of the Kauffman Foundation. “There were a lot of good ideas, but all of them cost money, and that is something the president doesn’t have.”
Friday’s Labor Department unemployment numbers were surprisingly low: The U.S. lost only 11,000 jobs in November, the smallest number since December 2007 (when the recession officially began). Overall unemployment declined to 10 percent in November. Economists had been expecting job losses of 100,000 to 150,000.
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About the Author: Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America ‘s entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. Follow her on Twitter @Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily to read more of her insights on small business.