- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

President Obama said Thursday he will convene a White House forum next month on economic growth and solving the country’s high unemployment problem.

The president said those participating will include economists, corporate executives, small-business owners, non-profit leaders and labor-union officials.

“We are open to good ideas,” he said. “This is what the forum is all about.”

The U.S. economy appears to be recovering from a 22-month recession, including the Gross Domestic Product growing in the third quarter by a rate of 3.5 percent — the first increase in a year.

RELATED STORY: Jobless claims fall more than expected

However, companies are slow to rehire the millions of laid-off workers.

The U.S. unemployment rate has steadily climbed and now stands at 10.2 percent — the highest since April 1983.

“Economic growth has not resulted in the job growth we need,” Mr. Obama said from the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room before departing for an eight-day trip to Asia.

He made the announcement minutes after the Labor Department reported first-time U.S. jobless claims last week fell to 502,000 — lowest level since early January.

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