President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

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The President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, originally the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), was an ad hoc panel of non-governmental experts from business, labor, academia and elsewhere that President of the United States Barack Obama created on February 6, 2009. The board reported to Obama and his economic team on possible ways to improve the nation's economy. Obama announced this new board on November 26, 2008, and also announced that it would be chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker with campaign economic adviser Austan Goolsbee as staff director and chief economist.

The council met a total of four times, with its final meeting on January 17, 2012.[1] In 2013, the authorization for the council was not renewed, causing the council to be permanently shut down.[2]


The board followed the model of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which President Dwight Eisenhower established in 1956.[3] Like the PFIAB, the advisory board was meant to pierce what Obama called the "insularity" of Washington decision-making processes. In announcing the board, Obama commented that "The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking – and those who serve in Washington don't always have a ground-level sense of which programs and policies are working."

The PERAB was intended to provide that ground-level sense, and Obama said that this mission was reflected in the board's diverse membership.[4] Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics and a noted progressive columnist, has argued that, given the centrist makeup of Obama's economic inner circle, the new board could be used to "give progressive economists a voice." He mentioned James K. Galbraith, Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, Dean Baker, and Jared Bernstein as progressive economists who might be suitable for the board.[5] Bernstein, however, was subsequently named to a full-time administration position as chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.[6]

According to an Obama transition press release, "The Board will be established initially for a two-year term, after which the President will make a determination on whether to continue its existence based on its continued necessity."[7]

Austan Goolsbee, the board's Chief Economist, made an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 19, 2009.[8]

According to a March 25, 2009 press briefing by OMB Director Peter Orszag, the administration charged PERAB with proposing approaches to three budget related tasks: simplifying taxation, closing tax loopholes and reducing tax evasion, and reducing corporate welfare.[9]

The board was renewed after its charter expired on February 6, 2011, with a new focus on economic competitiveness, with its name changing from The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.[10][11] Volcker was replaced as head of the board by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt[10] – Volcker is not a part of the reconstituted board[12] and was not consulted about its new makeup. In August 2011, Jeffrey Immelt announced that General Electric would create 11,000 onshore IT jobs.[13]

Council recommendations[edit]

The Council released an interim report with a series of recommendations in October 2011. The report included five major initiatives to increase employment while improving competitiveness:

  1. Measures to accelerate investment into job-rich projects in infrastructure and energy development;
  2. A comprehensive drive to ignite entrepreneurship and accelerate the number and scale of young, small businesses and high-growth firms that produce an outsized share of America's new jobs;
  3. A national investment initiative to boost jobs-creating inward investment in the United States, both from global firms headquartered elsewhere and from multinational corporations headquartered here;
  4. Ideas to simplify regulatory review and streamline project approvals to accelerate jobs and growth; and,
  5. Steps to ensure America has the talent in place to fill existing job openings as well as to boost future job creation.[14]


Volcker was said to be disappointed in how the board was used as a public relations tool by the White House, saying that live broadcast of its meetings made honest discussion difficult. According to former U.S. Treasury deputy assistant secretary Joseph Engelhard, "They pretty much used him to look tough on regulation, and now they're done with him, they're saying goodbye."[11]


The President and Mr. Volcker announced the board's membership on February 6, 2009.[15] Members included:


  1. ^ JOSH GERSTEIN (18 Jan 2013). "Obama Jobs Council hits 1 year without official meeting". Politico. Retrieved 10 Mar 2014.
  2. ^ Julianna Goldman (31 Jan 2013). "Obama Allowing Immelt-Led Advisory Council on Jobs to Expire". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 Mar 2014.
  3. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (26 November 2008). "Volcker Tapped for Advisory Role" (Article). U.S. Politics. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  4. ^ Chipman, Kim; Dodge, Catherine (26 November 2008). "Obama Names Volcker to Head Panel on Reviving Economy" (Article). Worldwide: News. Bloomberg. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  5. ^ Krugman, Paul (26 November 2008). "About that advisory board" (Blog). The Conscience of a Liberal. The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  6. ^ Vice President-Elect Biden Announces Chief Economist Archived 2012-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ (26 November 2008). "President-elect Barack Obama establishes President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board". Newsroom. Archived from the original (Press release) on 24 February 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Gooslbee Daily Show Interview
  9. ^ Transcript from Conference Call with Peter Orszag Archived 2009-03-30 at the Wayback Machine March 25, 2009. Accessed March 25, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Puzzanghera, Jim (2011-08-12). "Obama left short-handed on economy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  11. ^ a b Onaran, Yalman (2011-01-06). "Volcker Sidelined as Obama Reshapes Economic Advisory Panel". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  12. ^ Henry, Ed (2011-01-06). "Volcker stepping down from White House advisory post". CNN. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  13. ^ Stephanie Overby (22 August 2011). "Offshore Outsourcing Pioneer GE to Hire 1,100 American IT Workers". Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  14. ^ President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness-Interim Report-October 2011 Archived 2013-02-16 at
  15. ^ Press Release,", 6 February 2009
  16. ^ "Steve Case". The Jobs Council. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  17. ^ Business Week Gallogly profile Business Week profile. Previously of Blackstone Group. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Centerbridge company profile Business Week company profile. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  20. ^ "Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  21. ^ Lozano profile/linkages Archived 2008-11-23 at the Wayback Machine Muckety profile/linkages, including directorships at The Walt Disney Company, "Bank of America". Retrieved 2-20-09.

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