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Obama's Jobs Council, Stacked with Business Honchos, Offers Nothing But Political Theater

The administration's latest proposals flow from a fundamental misdiagnosis of the jobs problem we face.

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In fact, the economy does now have close to three million job openings. But, any large dynamic economy always has openings. Even in the worst months of the recession, as the economy was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, job openings never fell below two million. What the two CEOs neglected to mention is that there are still almost five unemployed workers chasing each one of the current openings. Improved training is a great idea for the long-term, but will not put people back to work if there are no jobs where they can use their new skills.

The scuttlebutt in policy circles is that the Jobs Council is just a bone the Obama administration has thrown to its business critics. Twenty-two of the 26 members are business leaders taken from the highest echelons of business. The composition of the council and the timidity of its recommendations certainly supports the view of the council as a sop.

But, if the Jobs Council is political theater, what is the Obama administration really planning to do about the jobs crisis?

John Schmitt is a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He is on twitter at @jschmittwdc.

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