Obama Allowing Immelt-Led Advisory Council on Jobs to Expire

President Barack Obama won’t renew the charter of an advisory council on jobs that he formed two years ago with General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt as its chairman.

The 27-member President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness was part of the administration’s business outreach at a time when the country was dealing with the longest stretch of unemployment rates above 9 percent since monthly records began in 1948.

The panel “was always intended to have a two-year charter,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. No replacement has been announced.

Obama is planning to follow up by working with businesses and groups outside the White House to make progress on some of the council’s specific recommendations, including setting priorities for infrastructure projects, reducing government debt and reworking the U.S. tax code, Carney said.

The president also is consulting with company executives on specific issues, including a call yesterday with “over a dozen” business leaders about revamping U.S. immigration law, Carney said.

The call included the chief executives of Deloitte LLP, General Motors Co., and Motorola Solutions Inc., along with representatives from Microsoft Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and the banking and financial services industry, according to a participant.

Regaining Jobs

The U.S. is struggling to replace the jobs lost during the recession. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent last month, unchanged from the rate in September. Claims for unemployment benefits increased more than forecast last week, to 368,000, the Labor Department reported today.

Obama’s Republican critics said the president hasn’t heeded advice on what’s needed to bring down the jobless rate.

“Whether ignoring the group or rejecting its recommendations, the president treated his Jobs Council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, said in an e-mail.

Obama named the council in February 2011. Along with Immelt, the council included: Steve Case, Revolution LLC CEO and AOL Inc. co-founder; Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp.; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc.; Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co.; and Richard Parsons, former chairman of Citigroup Inc.

Council Mission

Its mission was to offer “non-partisan advice” on how to strengthen the U.S. economy and ensure competitiveness while creating “jobs, opportunity and prosperity for the American people,” according to the executive order that created the panel.

In a statement today, Immelt said the panel was unified by the mission of fostering job creation and economic growth.

“Progress has been made on 90 percent of our recommendations -- infrastructure projects have been fast-tracked, regulations are being reviewed and evaluated, and the process time at the Patent and Trademark Office has been accelerated,” Immelt said. “I am proud of what has been accomplished and hopeful for America’s future.”

The council replaced the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

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