By Jueseppi B.
Your Update from the White House Business Team
It has been quite a busy first few weeks of 2014 here at the White House. Last Wednesday, the President traveled to Raleigh, NC to speak about manufacturing and announced his nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet to lead the Small Business Administration. The most recent jobs numbers show that the unemployment rate declined in December, but as our economy continues to make progress there is a lot more work to do.
On January 8th, the President announced the next step in his Promise Zones Initiative to partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing, and improve public safety.
Don’t forget to tune in to whitehouse.gov/sotu next Tuesday, January 28th at 9 PM ET for an enhanced version of the State of the Union with charts and graphs to further explain the policy and issues in the President’s remarks.
The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority Affordable Care Act Webinars are back up and running every Thursday at 2 PM ET. Sign up using the links below. As always, contact us with any questions or concerns at Business@who.eop.gov.
The White House Business Team
Ari, Marisa, Sam, and Quinn
President Obama Traveled to Raleigh, NC to Announce the Nation’s Newest Manufacturing Innovation Hub
Last Wednesday, the President traveled to Raleigh, NC to tour Vacon, a company that manufactures and sells AC drives, and delivered remarks at North Carolina State University, home of one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country. The President announced a new public-private effort to support manufacturing with the development of the nation’s newest manufacturing innovation hub. Like the hub launched in Ohio last year to develop and train workers in 3-D printing technology, the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute in North Carolina will bring leading companies, universities, and federal research together under one roof to help develop the next generation of power electronics.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on manufacturing at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama Nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet to Lead the Small Business Administration
Also on Wednesday, the President announced his plans to nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet as the head of the Small Business Administration. Maria Contreras-Sweet knows first-hand what it means to start a small business. She founded the ProAmérica Bank, the first Latino-owned business bank in California, in 2006 and as the California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, she advocated for major job creation and public investment in infrastructure and housing.
President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, as Administrator of the Small Business Administration, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 15, 2014. At right is Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
“As we work to keep our economy growing, Maria will be charged with looking for more ways to support small businesses,” President Obama said, “to help them get that good idea off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas not only in our domestic markets, but also overseas. And I’m absolutely confident that she is going to do an outstanding job as our Small Business Administrator.”
Read more about the nomination for Maria Contreras-Sweet.
The Employment Situation Heading into 2014
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 74,000 in December, due to an 87,000 increase in private employment. Private sector job growth was revised up for October (to 217,000) and November (to 226,000) so that over the last three months, private employment has risen by an average of 177,000 per month. The overall unemployment rate declined to 6.7 percent in December, the lowest since October 2008.
The economy is finishing 2013 in a stronger place than where it began the year, though more work remains to grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. This is especially notable given the general fiscal environment, including the onset of the sequester in March, and the government shutdown and debt limit brinkmanship in October.
The recent budget bill passed by Congress on a bipartisan basis will contribute to certainty, a better fiscal stance over the next year, and more funding for the critical ingredients of longer run growth. But more needs to be done, most immediately extending Unemployment Insurance benefits, and beyond that increasing investments to strengthen growth and making sure that growth is shared.
The strengthening of the economy over the course of 2013 is a testament to America’s resilient private sector and America’s workers. Businesses have added 8.2 million jobs over the past 46 months, and 2013 was the third consecutive year of job growth in excess of two million.
See the Year in Review Economic Briefing from the Council of Economic Advisers.
President Obama Names the First Five Promise Zones
Announced by the President in last year’s State of the Union Address, the Promise Zones initiative will revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by attracting private investment, improving affordable housing, expanding educational opportunities, providing tax incentives for hiring workers and investing in the Zones, reducing violence, and assisting local leaders in navigating Federal programs and cutting through red tape. On January 8th, the President announced the next step in those efforts by naming the first five “Promise Zones.”
The first five Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, have each put forward a plan on how they will partner with local business and community leaders to make investments that reward hard work and expand opportunity. In exchange, these designees will receive the resources and flexibility they need to achieve their goals.
Each of these designees knows and has demonstrated that it takes a collaborative effort – between private business and federal, state, tribal and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; children and parents – to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living for every American, in every community.
Learn more about the first five Promise Zones and their plans.
The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority Webinars are Back On
The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority Webinars have started up again. Every Thursday at 2:00pm ET, log-in to the webinar to learn about the Affordable Care Act and how you can enroll in small business insurance marketplaces. SBA representatives will be on hand to also discuss insurance reforms, the small business health care tax credit, and employer shared responsibility provisions. Register for the webinars using the links below.
- Thursday, January 30 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register
- Thursday, February 6 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register
- Thursday, February 13 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register
- Thursday, February 20 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register
- Thursday, February 27 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register
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