10 Largest Companies on Obama's Jobs Council Lost 91K Jobs

The economy has not been kind to the large companies on Obama's jobs council.

ByABC News
October 11, 2011, 3:29 PM

Oct. 12, 2011 — -- Members of President Obama's jobs council convened on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, discussing ways to create jobs amid their own lukewarm record of job creation.

An analysis by ABC News found that the 10 largest companies represented on the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have lost some 91,206 jobs since January 2009.

The purpose of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is "to provide non-partisan advice to the president on continuing to strengthen the nation's economy and ensure the competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people."

The council's meeting came just as the president's $447 billion jobs bill was defeated in the Senate Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the jobs council submitted a report to the president called "Taking Action, Building Confidence," stating "there is no one "silver bullet" to create jobs." The group compiled "a series of targeted proposals that can meaningfully accelerate job creation while beginning to rebuild America's competitiveness," including investing aggressively in infrastructure and energy and targeting high-growth enterprises that create new jobs such as startups and small firms.

The jobs council said in its report that startups and small firms are "the key to U.S. job growth." For the past 30 years, high-growth enterprises less than five years old have created 40 million net new jobs, accounting for all the net new job creation in the country, according to the council.

The 27 non-governmental executives, advocates and academics of the president's jobs council are leaders in their field though not all have directly "created" jobs. Many of them work for large corporations, which have jettisoned employees in the economic downturn that began in 2008 with the financial crisis.

But not all of them work at companies that are cutting jobs. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook since March 2008, could get high marks on her jobs report card. Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., employs nearly 3,000 people and has grown headcount by 22 percent in the past six months. The company has grown 55 percent in the past year, according to a company spokeswoman.

John Doerr, venture capitalist of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park, Calif., could also potentially get high marks. When asked how many jobs the company's funds may have created, a spokeswoman said the VC-firm has invested in more than 50 companies since January 2009.

Steve Case, former CEO of AOL and CEO of investment firm Revolution LLC, also appears to be involved in job creation these days, though many analysts say his 2001 merger of AOL with Time Warner was a failure. Allyson Burns, spokeswoman for Revolution LLC, said the firm "has backed more than a dozen entrepreneurs who have created thousands of new jobs in the past two years alone."

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, represented by CEO Matthew Rose on the jobs council, had 6,000 hires since 2010 and had a 5 percent increase in net new jobs since January 2009. John Ambler, spokesman for the company, said some of those jobs were due to attrition and replacing retired employees.

Permac Industries now has 38 employees, from 21 employees in 2009, according to CEO Darlene Miller, a member of the jobs council.

Stephen Bronars, chief economist with Welch Consulting, said large, successful companies can have the most difficulty adding jobs, especially in a tough economy. From January 2009 to December 2010 the U.S. economy lost about half a million jobs. The unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and has changed little since January.

"As a general point, big companies tend to not grow as much as smaller ones unless they acquire one. Once you're already big it's hard to grow," he said.

Bronars said the 10 largest companies represented on the jobs council have performed better than other companies in their industries. Data compiled from S&P Capital IQ and filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission show the largest 10 companies represented on the jobs council have lost about 91,206 employees or jobs since January 2009.

Here are the net jobs added from around January 2009 by the 10 largest companies -- by sales -- represented by executives on the jobs council, compiled by S&P Capital IQ.

1. General Electric (GE): -19,000 jobs

2010 Sales: $149.1 billion

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO

At the end of 2010, General Electric and its affiliates employed about 133,000 people in the U.S., down from 134,000 in 2009 and 152,000 in 2008, according to its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission from Feb. 25.

But a company spokesman said the annual filing figures can be misleading without describing what companies GE may have sold. The sale of NBC-Universal to Comcast in early 2011, for example, will result in GE's employment for this year to appear flat compared to 2010. However, GE will hire about 15,000 people in the country in 2011, according to the spokesman.

In 2009, GE announced the creation of 8,000 new U.S, jobs, 7,000 of which are industrial jobs, the spokesman said.

Note: $50 billion of GE's revenue comes from Investments as opposed to Sales of Goods and Services.

2. Citigroup (C): -62,800 jobs

2010 Sales: $111.5 billion

Richard Parsons, board chairman

On December 31, 2010, Citi had approximately 260,000 full-time employees compared with approximately 265,300 full-time employees in December 31, 2009.

In December 31, 2008, Citi had approximately 322,800 full-time and 4,100 part-time employees.