President Obama’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council will soon be no more. It expires today, and the White House has no plans to renew it. The Associated Press:
Officials said the president always intended for the council to fulfill its mission and then wind down, and said that Obama would continue to actively engage and seek input from business leaders about ways to accelerate job-creation and economic growth. Among the steps Obama plans to pursue are expedited permits for infrastructure projects, the White House said.
So has its mission been fulfilled? Looking beyond the official 7.8% unemployment rate, I think several charts tell the tale. First, the share of the adult population that actually has a job:
And here’s the share of the labor force that is working or looking for a job:
And is the US becoming more competitive? Well, we now rank 7th in the World Economic Forum rankings out of 144 nations — vs. 1st back in 2008. Here’s a bit of the group’s analysis. In particular, the report highlights creeping crony capitalism and inefficient government:
The United States continues the decline that began a few years ago, falling two more positions to take 7th place this year. … US companies are highly sophisticated and innovative, supported by an excellent university system that collaborates admirably with the business sector in R&D. Combined with flexible labor markets and the scale opportunities afforded by the sheer size of its domestic economy—the largest in the world by far—these qualities continue to make the United States very competitive.
On the other hand, some weaknesses in particular areas have deepened since past assessments. The business community continues to be critical toward public and private institutions (41st). I … . Business leaders also remain concerned about the government’s ability to maintain arms-length relationships with the private sector (59th), and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (76th). A lack of macroeconomic stability continues to be the country’s greatest area of weakness (111th, down from 90th last year).