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Obama Presses For New Ideas For Jobs

US President asks for help on how to reduce country's high unemployment rate at White House Jobs Summit attended by more than 100 business executives, entrepreneurs, and labor union officials

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U.S. President Barack Obama has met with leaders from business, labor, education, government and nonprofit groups to look for ways to create jobs. The so-called job summit was held Thursday one day before November's unemployment figures are due out.  

With the U.S. jobless rate above ten percent, President Obama says he wants to take action now. "Every day I meet people or I hear from people who talk about sending out resume after resume, and they have been on the job hunt for a year or year and a half and still cannot find anything and are desperate.  They have not just lost the paycheck they need to live; they are losing the sense of dignity and identity that comes from having a job," she said.

The president invited about 130 guests to the White House, and challenged them to help him find ways to put millions of Americans back to work.  "Now, let me be clear.  I am open to every demonstrably good idea, and I want to take very responsible step to accelerate job creation," he said.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that government initiatives cannot completely solve the unemployment problem, and that the private sector will have to create large numbers of new jobs. "So we cannot make any ill-considered decisions right now, even with the best of intentions.  We are going to have to be surgical and we are going to have to be creative.  We are going to have to be smart and strategic," he said.

The president spoke to several smaller groups at the summit.  He talked with one group about creating jobs by promoting energy efficiency and so-called clean energy.  He also asked business leaders to campaign for energy legislation in the U.S. Senate.

At the same time, opposition Republicans in Washington held their own forum on jobs.  Many agreed that the president's economic programs are not working and that he should reverse course.

Aside from the high jobless rate, Mr. Obama credits his $787 billion economic stimulus plan with the recent improvement in the nation's economy.  He says the economy is growing for the first time in a year, productivity is surging, companies are reporting profits and the stock market is showing gains.

The president takes his campaign for his economic agenda to the Eastern city of Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, and he will make a major economic speech next Tuesday.

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