U.S. President Barack Obama says he will hold a wide-ranging jobs summit in December, to discuss ways to put more people to work. The president plans to seek ideas from experts in the private and public sectors.
Amid talk the U.S. economy may be in a "jobless recovery," President Obama will hold a forum at the White House next month on jobs and economic growth.
"We will gather CEO's and small business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again," said President Obama.
The president says people are desperately searching for work, and the government has an obligation to consider every additional responsible step possible to get them working again.
New claims for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, a sign the job market may be starting to recover. But Mr. Obama says too many Americans are still out of work.
"Even though we have slowed the loss of jobs, and today's report on the continued decline in unemployment claims is a hopeful sign, the economic growth that we have seen has not led to the job growth that we desperately need," said Mr. Obama.
The Labor Department says first-time claims for jobless benefits took an unexpected drop last week, to the lowest number since 2009 began, and 20 percent lower than at its peak earlier in the year.
But PNC Financial Services senior economist Stuart Hoffman agrees with the president that last week's decline in applications does not yet mean substantial job growth.
"It is a movement in the right direction," said Stuart Hoffman. "It is good, but it is just not good enough yet. It is not low enough to show that businesses are creating jobs."
Also, the nation's overall unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in October, its highest level in 26 years.
Shortly after making his comments, the president left for an eight-day trip to Asia, where the economy will be one of the main topics of his meetings with other countries' leaders. Mr. Obama says he will discuss a strategy for growth that is both balanced and broadly shared.
"It is a strategy in which Asian and Pacific markets are open to our exports, and one in which prosperity around the world is no longer as dependent on American consumption and borrowing, but rather more on American innovation and products," said President Obama.
The president will visit Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore, where a summit of 21 Asia-Pacific economies will take place.
Mr. Obama has said he will speak with Chinese officials about revaluing their currency, the yuan. He said he also plans to urge Beijing to allow more U.S. goods in its markets and encourage Chinese consumers to spend more.