A Jobs Summit Eleven Months Late

Posted: Nov 13, 2009 7:00 AM

President Obama is planning to host a jobs summit next month. As the Washington Post noted about the announcement of the summit, "The forum, which will gather business executives, economists, financial experts and union leaders, will be aimed at examining initiatives to accelerate job creation, Obama said." Although the summit sounds like a solid idea, its announcement comes very late for the millions of Americans who continue to struggle in this economy.

Two days ago, in a blog post entitled "Will the 10% unemployment number affect the president's agenda?, I wrote about the unemployment rate that reached 10.2% last month. This new jobs summit seems to be a way for the president to show how important the economy and the double-digit unemployment rate is to this president. However, the December summit will be coming approximately eleven months after Obama's inauguration and about ten months after the stimulus bill (which, after all, was supposed to stimulate the economy) was signed into law. That, of course, is the same stimulus bill that President Obama said "worked as intended", according to Politico.com.

Many people would likely disagree with that assessment. In fact, after seven months since the stimulus was signed into law, a recent Gallup poll noted how much pessimism is still out there about the job market. According to a recent Gallup survey, "U.S. job-market optimism has reached a new low, with only 8% of Americans saying now is a good time to find a quality job -- the lowest level since Gallup began tracking this measure in August 2001." While people are pessimistic about the economy as the employment situation gets worse, the president continues to push for major health reform. 
Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan recently noted what the president should have done right after he was sworn in when his approval rating was extremely high and he had a lot of momentum on his side. Bevan wrote the following:

This administration should have offered a point-by-point roadmap to job creation a month after taking office. Instead, while the 'jobs saved or created' canard used to prop up support for the stimulus has been unravelling over the last few weeks, the administration has been (and remains) singularly devoted to health care as its signature domestic policy issue.
In recent months, the President has focused on health care even while the unemployment rate rose to its highest rate in decades. This jobs summit, whatever good it may produce, is coming very late for the Americans who have lost their jobs in these past several months.