ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Matthew Jaffe report:
“We are just not where we need to be yet,” said President Obama in kicking off today’s meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), “We have got a long way to go.”
The President cited recent positive news such as last Thursday’s GDP numbers, which showed the country’s economy growing for the first time in more than a year. However, he also mentioned that production levels continue to be “significantly below peak levels” and, most distressingly, he said, job growth continues to lag.
“We anticipate that we’re going to continue to see some job losses in the weeks and months to come,” the President warned twice during the top portion of his meeting.
On Friday morning the jobs report for October will be released. September’s report showed 263,000 jobs lost and a national unemployment rate of 9.8 percent. It is expected that Friday’s report for October will show 166,000 jobs lost during the course of the month, with the unemployment rate hitting 9.9 percent.
Given the severity of the job losses that took place, the President said, they need to think of some “old, innovative action” to be taken by the administration, Congress and the private sector to get job creation going.
The President said this will require new models for where future growth is going to come from, and the government will have to “get serious” about reducing debt levels.
“We’ve got experts from a wide range of business sectors, and what we’re going to talk about is, are there mechanisms that we can start putting in place where we see the kind of growth that used to characterize the U.S. economy — export-driven growth, manufacturing growth, growth that pays high wages and provides high living standards for a broad-based middle class.”
The President said that getting people back to work was his administration’s “overriding focus” as well as the job of the PERAB.
“Having brought the economy back from the brink, how are we going to make sure that people are getting back to work and able to support their families,” he said, “we will not rest until we are succeeding in generating the jobs that this economy needs.
Today’s session was the second full meeting of the PERAB board, which is led by former Fed chief Paul Volcker and also includes Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, National Economic Council director Larry Summers, Anna Burger from Change to Win, Jeff Immelt from GE, and Richard Trumka from AFL-CIO, among others.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group to bounce ideas off of,” Obama said, commenting that team has “extraordinary and diverse” expertise in the economy. The President said he would also solicit ideas from the private sector, from academia and from “all political persuasions” to form a strategy going forward.
“If somebody can show me a strategy that’s going to work, then we are happy to consider it.”
Ending on a confident note the President emphasized that if they apply “good common sense” and reinvigorate that sector of our economy that’s based on innovation and dynamism and entrepreneurship,” then the economic will be able to create sustainable growth.
-Sunlen Miller and Matt Jaffe