Obama's New Jobs Creation Plan Is Met With Mixed Feelings

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For Michael Webster, who's been unemployed for 14 months, President Obama's speech today in North Carolina was not surprising.

"Jobs are not being created fast enough," Obama said at an energy-efficient lighting plant in Durham. "I wake up every single morning wondering how jobs can be created and go to bed thinking the same thing."

Webster, a married father of three young children, has been looking for leads for a management position at job fairs outside of Dallas.

"I try to stay positive," he said. "It's pretty tough."

In North Carolina, a state critical to his reelection and with a 9.7 unemployment rate, the president laid out a series of job initiatives with GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, the head of his jobs council.

Jobs Locator: A Breakdown of Who Is Hiring and Where

"There is no one silver bullet on jobs creation," Immelt said today.

The council's suggestions include training workers for jobs that are tough to fill, such as advanced manufacturing, and streamlining the permit process in hopes of kick-starting infrastructure and construction projects. The council also advises easing visa restrictions to boost jobs in travel and tourism and facilitating lending to small businesses.

Many of the nation's top economists weighed in on the president's plans with mixed feelings.

Peter Ricchiuti, a Tulane University business professor, said they were "all good ideas," but he wondered: "Will they get through?"

Martin Regalia of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the proposals would "likely have little impact in the near term."

"Most of this is right out of the stimulus bill, which didn't do much except maintain the jobs of state and local employees," said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

"[What] all these proposals miss is that U.S companies are in better financial health today than in decades," said Bernie Baumhol, chief economist at the Economic Outlook Group. "Record profits, record amount of cash. All financial resources [can] increase hiring if they want to. ... There's just no urgency to do so at this time."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics April 2011 Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, there were 2.9 million job openings in April. Retail organizations posted 37,000 job openings this year. Amazon added 17,000.

Accommodations and food services posted 50,000. Companies like McDonald's are hiring staff and managers too. Manufacturing had the most jobs -- 53,000 -- with Ford needing to hire 7,000 workers in the next two years.

Layoffs Down 38 Percent From September 2009

And while the economy is hardly thriving anywhere, there are signs that the hemorrhaging is slowing. Fewer people are being fired. Layoffs are down 38 percent from the peak level in September 2009.

Still, Americans like Arlaia Moxley, a Texas resident who's been out of work since she lost her job as a materials purchasing coordinator at a startup company in September 2008, are having a hard time finding solace in those statistics or the president's plan.

"I'm not confident that the government can help," she said. "Every day that I come out and I look is one step more hopeful than sitting at home and crying about it."