You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

political notebook

Obama won’t extend jobs council’s mission

WASHINGTON — President Obama is letting his jobs council expire, cutting off one source of input from business leaders while unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Obama formed the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in January 2011, when unemployment was about 9 percent. It’s now 7.8 percent, though more than 12 million people are out of work.

Continue reading below

Obama’s executive order ­establishing the council said it would go out of business Jan. 31, 2013. The White House said Thursday that Obama had no plans to renew its charter.

‘‘The work of the jobs council was very valuable,’’ White House spokesman Jay Carney said. ‘‘While the president didn’t agree with all of its recommendations, he agreed with many of them and acted on a number of them.’’

White House officials said Obama intended for the council to fulfill its mission and then wind down, and that he would seek input about the economy from business leaders in other ways. Among the steps Obama plans to pursue are expedited permits for public works projects, plus programs to boost entrepreneurship and workforce development.

Even before Obama’s decision was clear, Republicans seized on the council’s likely expiration as evidence the president hadn’t spent enough time on trying to create jobs. The Republican National Committee called it part of ‘‘the failed Obama record,’’ while the House Republicans’ campaign committee, in an online petition, accused Obama of laying off his own jobs council.

Adding to the concern about the job market’s vulnerability, the Commerce Department said Wednesday that the US economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent from October through December of last year, the first quarterly drop since 2009. The Federal Reserve said the economy appears to have ‘‘paused in recent months.’’

The council was a successor to an economic advisory board Obama created at the onset of his presidency. The panel was chaired by General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt and included business leaders and economists. Immelt said progress has been made in putting in place 90 percent of the council’s recommendations.

Obama met with the council only a few times. During the last meeting, in February 2012, Obama and the council highlighted an engineering education initiative.

‘‘The president treated his jobs council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation,’’ said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

The council’s main product was a report, ‘‘Roadmap to Renewal,’’ that was released in January 2012. The council also organized a series of meetings across the country last year with business owners, elected officials, and academics; Obama didn’t attend those election-year sessions.

Critics have asserted that the council’s primary purpose was to create the appearance of action at a time when the nation was pining for something to rein in soaring joblessness. The administration acted on many of the council’s recommendations, including suggestions to streamline permitting and small business loans, increase tourist visas, and boost energy-efficiency.

But the White House was at odds with several council members on tax policies, particularly a proposal to exclude overseas corporate earnings from US taxes. That idea divided even the jobs council, whose membership included labor and Obama’s political allies.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week