New Council to Focus on Jobs and Competitiveness

On Jan. 31, 2011, President Barack Obama created by Executive Order the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Comprised of civilian representatives from various sectors of the economy, the Council will operate within the Department of the Treasury and will provide advice from the private sector on how the federal government can best foster growth, competitiveness, innovation, and job creation. 

The Council is charged with: soliciting ideas from across the country about how to bolster the economy; providing information and recommendations to any executive department or agency with oversight on economic issues; reporting directly to the President on policies to enhance the U.S. economy; and providing analysis on economic policies to the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the National Economic Council.

The new Council will provide economic advice as the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board—led by Paul Volker—has served its scheduled two-year term and expired Feb. 6, 2011. The new Jobs and Competitiveness Council will be chaired by Jeffrey Immelt, CEO and Chairman of General Electric.

Responding to the President’s new Council and the appointment of Immelt, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), respectively, recently sent a letter to Immelt urging his attention to helping small businesses sell more goods and services overseas. 

“Increasing small business exports is one area that can foster innovation, strengthen competitiveness and create jobs,” Senators Landrieu and Snowe said in the letter.  “More than two-thirds of our small exporters reported higher staffing levels due to their export-derived business – jobs which pay on average as much as 18 percent more than jobs created domestically. This data proves that while exporting can be challenging for small businesses, they – and our nation – can prosper from it.”

Among the recommendations Landrieu and Snowe highlighted in their letter to Immelt:

  • Conduct aggressive outreach to the small business community to educate, raise awareness of and market exporting as a business development opportunity; 
  • Remove or ease regulatory burdens associated with the exporting process;
  • Modernize, streamline and update existing federal export promotion programs that help small businesses export, and improve coordination amongst the agencies most involved in promoting exporting by small businesses;
  • Better incorporate state and local governments as well as non-profit entities and key private sector partners into new federal export promotion initiatives, and;
  • Expand small-business representation on key advisory panels and offices to ensure the needs and concerns of small businesses are incorporated into any new export or trade policies from the administration.

SBEA and NSBA congratulate Immelt on his appointment and applaud Landrieu and Snowe for their proactive urging of his attention to critical small-business exporting issues. 

Please click here to see the full text of the letter.