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Obama’s Jobs Council dissolved today to mixed reactions

After two years of existence, Obama’s Jobs Council winds down today, which is drawing fire from critics and clarity from supporters, as the timing coincides with a poor jobs report today.



president obama

president obama

Obama’s Jobs Council after two years

After two years in existence, Obama’s Jobs Council is no more, as the administration did not review the council, allowing it to shut down by default. This news inadvertently piggybacks on new Labor Department data out today revealing unemployment benefit claims surged by 38,000 with the day prior, news breaking that the economy is shrinking.

The top concern in the nation continues to be jobs and the economy, which the Council comprised of 26 business and labor leaders was created to address, but after meeting only a total of four times, all of which were in 2011, the disbanding of the Council is drawing fire.

obama jobs council

In defense of dissolving the Jobs Council

When Obama formed the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, unemployment was over 9.0 percent, and in two short years, the unemployment rate sits at 7.8 percent, and while all parties agree it is too high, supporters are pointing out this improvement as also coinciding with the dissolving of the Council.

White House Officials have said the Council was always intended to “fulfill its mission and then wind down” at the end of the two years, so one could assume that this news should be no surprise.

President Obama’s second term agenda includes steps to address the ongoing unemployment problem, and Obama says he has and will continue to consult with business leaders about the way forward.

Actions were taken

The White House “took action” on 33 of the 35 recommendations from the Council in the first year, and implemented 16 of them, according to the White House website. Positive action includes Obama’s continued pursuit of expedition for permits for infrastructure projects, alongside programs to boost workforce development and entrepreneurship.

While critics of the dissolved Council took to the airwaves and social networks today, supporters have widely been quiet. There has been no mention of the Jobs Council on the Twitter accounts of @WhiteHouse, @BarackObama, @DWStweets (Chair of the Democratic National Convention, Debbie Wasserman Schultz), @HouseDemocrats or on

Most messages from these entities do, however, focus on the important issues of the week, primarily immigration reform, the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and Gabby Gifford’s encouraging speech yesterday.

obama's jobs council

In criticism of dissolving the Jobs Council

Many Republicans say the President never took the Jobs Council seriously, as proven by his lack of attendance, similar to his lack of attendance as a Senator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fully 22.7 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have given up their job search, and since Obama took office, the average time of unemployment has doubled from 19.8 weeks to 38.1 weeks, leaving the President vulnerable to criticism.

In a statement made in January 2012, Obama state, “One of the things that’s been striking about this Jobs Council is how focused and how hard-working everybody has been around this table. This has not been a show council. This has been a work council.”

Not a “show council”

Obama continued, “And because of the extraordinary commitments that each and every one of you have made, we have generated I think as good a set of proposals as we have seen coming out of the private sector to help to guide and steer our economic agenda and our approach to jobs and growth over the next couple of years.”

This statement has drawn fire not only due to lack of attendance and action, but for direct defiance of the Jobs Council on agenda items like the Keystone Pipeline.

Representative John Boehner’s spokesperson said, “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.”

Reince Priebus tweeted, “News this AM that economy contracted last qtr comes as Obama’s “jobs council” ends. Great work team, you’re excused!”

Regardless of where anyone lands on the spectrum, unemployment remains problematic in America, and while there is not a consensus on the way forward, supporters and critics agree that President Obama must listen to the business community rather than Washington insiders.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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