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Obama asks execs for help hiring long-term jobless

Sunday, February 2, 2014

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama got commitments from nearly 300 companies to reach out to the nearly four million Americans who have been jobless for half a year or more. Obama said at a White House event with chief executives, job training groups and advocates for the unemployed: “The longer you’re unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem.” Obama called that “an illusion” because, he said, such workers are often better qualified and better educated than workers who just recently lost their jobs.


Obama also signed a presidential memo directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices. The event and the memo illustrate the types of targeted, non-legislative measures Obama promised to undertake to expand economic opportunity during his State of the Union address last week. Obama has declared 2014 a year of action for his administration, but his chances of winning legislative victories are slim in an election year and with a divided Congress.