President Obama Turns to Main Street, Small Business for Job Creation Ideas

jobs-2With 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.


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

8 Reactions
  1. Many of the jobs which have been lost in the last two years are due to small to medium businesses closing.This resulted more than would be expected because of the failure of the banking community. A carefully organized PRIVATE company dedicated to connecting closed businesses with investors and operating businesses would likely result in a significant number of these closed businesses to open. This could result in nearly half of the lost jobs being re-found. The government could help with a loan or small grant, but we need to encourage more of our recovery to be the result of non government operations. It might be appropriate to require a small tax on Banks, as they precipitated the problem. This organization would work with business brokers and finders, and funding sources but would rely on an extensive data base, updated continuously, and communicated well. It would charge a modest fee on success, and otherwise only actual expenses. It would take two year to establish an organization covering the USA, but should provide a major impact on increasing jobs, at very little cost to the Tax payers.

  2. The president needs to have a few representative advisors who believe in less Government involvement and spending. To have a balanced group of advisors and not all “Yes Men” he should have one or two advisors who are Objectivists or Libertarians such as Ron Paul. While it is not likely the President will have his approach changed much, but there may be ideas which he will receive which will solve problems without adding more government or spending more Tax Payer money.

  3. Rieva,

    Let’s hope that the President can get the job situation fixed. Way too many people are out of work.

    Job growth will come when more folks have a chance at the American Dream ,and can create new jobs in their new businesses. In order for this to happen, we need lenders to…lend!

    The Franchise King

  4. The President needs get out of the way. The jobs summit was filled with Union people who don’t care about anything but the union, and big business executives that don’t understand the small business potential for re-building the American economy. Maybe, just maybe, the President will stop the “cap & trade”, “card check” and Healthcare reform nonsense. This will send a clear message to small business that their taxes won’t rise, and the daily regulation of our business lives isn’t going to increase. Then and only then will the future of our job market and the economy be clearer.

  5. The success of small business does not hinge on what the government does or doesn’t do. Yes, times are hard, but these circumstances force businesses to be more innovative, frugal and creative. Solutions will arise that would never have been conceived before and many businesses will emerge stronger than ever. Achieving the American Dream never was, nor should be, easy. The harder you work for something, the more you value it.

  6. I think it was great to have the summit.

    Here are my thought on what good will come from down times.

    lot’s of jobs to be had as Bloggers, streets journalist, business consultants, content creators, Social media strategist, independent film makers and much more. these type of business with need workers to keep up from the way it looks now, Pure growth ahead for those willing to make it happen.

    To day it should be about learning the New media markets for when the country rebounds from economic losses we are ready and moving lots of this is working during the down financial time

  7. Ok, almost one full year has passed since this forum took place and it doesn’t seem that the strategy is working. Unemployment is still stubornly high.

    The irony is that he’s been hostile to the very people that can help him create jobs.

  8. Para triunfar en la vida se necesita empezar con un sueño pero este debe ser calculado y estar dispuesto a pagar el precio