Obama has laid off his jobs council: Yet another victim of the shrinking economy
OUT OF WORK -- No JOBS for the JOBS COUNCIL
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will let his jobs council expire this week without renewing its charter, winding down one source of input from the business community even as unemployment remains stubbornly high.
A provision in Obama's executive order establishing the council says it sunsets on Thursday. A White House official said the president does not plan to extend it.
Adding to the concern about the job market's continued vulnerability, the Commerce Department said Wednesday that the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent from October through December of last year, the first quarterly drop since 2009.
The jobs council was a successor to another economic advisory board Obama created at the onset of his presidency. The panel was chaired by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and was comprised of prominent business leaders and economists.
Obama met with the council only a handful of times. During the last meeting, in February 2012, the president and the council highlighted an engineering education initiative alongside school deans.
The jobs council's main work product was report released in January 2012, entitled "Roadmap to Renewal." The council also organized a series of "listening and action" meetings across the country last year with business owners, local elected officials and academics, although Obama didn't attend those sessions.
Critics have argued that the council's primary purpose was to create the appearance of action at a time when the nation was pining for something — anything — to rein in soaring joblessness. The administration acted on many of the council's recommendations, including suggestions for streamlining the permitting process. But the White House was at odds with several council members on tax policies.