Business in America News
- Posted byon February 15, 2012 at 6:42 PM EDT
In his State of the Union message last week, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an America that’s built to last—where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. Today, the Departments of Treasury and Labor are taking steps to strengthen economic security for our nation’s seniors by giving Americans greater investment information and access to more choices to plan for a secure retirement. These steps will be of particular importance to women, who tend to live longer and have fewer retirement assets and lower retirement income than men.
The Department of Labor is taking action to require 401(k) plan providers to better disclose the cost and nature of the services they provide, while Treasury and the IRS are announcing steps that will ease regulatory barriers in the market for annuities and other forms of lifetime income. The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) has prepared a detailed report describing the significance of today’s actions, which can be accessed here.
Today’s announcements complement previous Administration initiatives to make retirement more secure for American families. In September 2009, President Obama announced expanded opportunities for automatic enrollment in retirement savings plans. The President has also championed an automatic IRA legislative proposal through which tens of millions of workers without access to a workplace retirement plan would be automatically enrolled in IRAs through payroll deposit contributions, while remaining free to opt out. And the Administration has proposed easing requirements on the timing and amount of distributions from retirement accounts for many retirees, reducing the compliance burden and providing elderly Americans with greater control over their retirement assets.
- Posted byon February 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM EDT
Driving down the interstate in Idaho, you may be surprised by the new billboards you pass. Instead of being greeted by ads for fast-food restaurants and chain hotels, billboards that encourage the hiring of veterans grace the sides of the road.
“Let’s Join Forces And Hire A Veteran,” the signs proclaim. This call to action comes from Lamar Advertising, a Boise-based billboard company that has put up 32 billboards in Idaho to get the word out about hiring our nation’s veterans. These huge billboards encourage Americans to view veterans as assets and to give them the chance to demonstrate their skills and talents through meaningful employment.
Lamar has teamed with Joining Forces in this public service campaign. Efforts like Lamar’s are helping to answer the President’s call to hire and/or train 100,000 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013, a goal which we are moving closer toward every day.
This donation from Lamar Advertising is exactly what the First Lady had in mind when she launched Joining Forces with Dr. Jill Biden, asking every American to do what they do best in support of our veterans and their families. Lamar is taking on that challenge. A leading advertising firm that specializes in billboard ads, Lamar is making a difference in Idaho by raising awareness of veteran unemployment. This awareness will ultimately lead to jobs for men and women who have taken an oath to protect and defend our country. Today, only 1 percent of Americans serve our nation as military members, taking care of the other 99 percent of citizens. With companies like Lamar, we are supporting those who support us.
- Posted byon February 3, 2012 at 4:26 PM EDT
This week, we celebrated the 1-year anniversary of Startup America, a White House initiative to encourage and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship.
Forgot to send a card in honor of the occasion? Don’t worry, we won’t tell. But you should take a few minutes to watch this White House White Board, released this day last year, and learn about how Startup America can help entrepreneurs overcome the “valley of death” they often face when launching a new project.
Find out more about how Startup America can help to boost startups and small businesses that create so many jobs in this country:
- Read the details of the Startup America legislative agenda President Obama sent to Congress
- Watch the Gene Sperling, Steve Case, and Aneesh Chopra answer questions about Startup America in a White House Hangout
- Video: What Can Startup America Do for Me?
- Video: Advice for Young Entrepreneurs from Startup America
- Posted byon February 3, 2012 at 10:31 AM EDT
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007. Most importantly, we need to extend the payroll tax cut and continue to provide emergency unemployment benefits through the end of this year, and take the additional steps that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address to create an economy built to last.
The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 8.3%, from a high of 10% in October 2009. The drop in unemployment over the month was entirely due to employment growth, as the labor force participation rate remained constant, once new population weights are taken into account. The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percentage point in the last 12 months. Private sector payrolls increased by 257,000 jobs and overall payroll employment rose by 243,000 jobs in January. Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 23 straight months, for a total of 3.7 million payroll jobs over that period. In the last 12 months, 2.2 million private sector jobs were added on net. Nonetheless, we need faster growth to put more Americans back to work.
Sectors with net job increases in December included professional and business services (+70,000), manufacturing (+50,000), leisure and hospitality (+44,000), health care and social assistance (+29,700), and construction (+21,000). Government lost 14,000 jobs.
The monthly employment and unemployment numbers can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.
- Posted byon January 31, 2012 at 7:30 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama made the trip across town to the Washington Auto Show to look at some of the incredible new vehicles being built by Detroit.
There, he told reporters:
Let me just say, when you look at all these cars, it is testimony to the outstanding work that's been done by workers -- American workers, American designers. The U.S. auto industry is back. The fact that GM is back, number one, I think shows the kind of turnaround that's possible when it comes to American manufacturing.
Check out the video.
- Posted byon January 31, 2012 at 6:36 PM EDT
Today, Startup America celebrates its first birthday, and President Obama is sending Congress a set of proposals to help boost the startups and small businesses that create so many jobs in this country.
President Obama has already cut taxes for businesses 17 times. Now, he's asking lawmakers to create four new tax cuts. He's proposing a new 10 percent income tax credit on new payroll for small businesses; a permanent extension of a tax cut he signed in 2010 that eliminates taxes on capital gains in key investments for small businesses; a doubling of the amount that entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for start-up expenses, and a 100 percent extension of first-year depreciation of qualified property for one year.
To help businesses find more investors, the President is calling for a national framework that allows entrepreneurs to raise money through "crowdfunding." Currently, the most a small business can raise through a round of "Regulation A" mini-funding is $5 million -- but President Obama wants to boost that limit to $50 million, coupled with strong protections for investors. He's calling for changes in how securities laws and regulations are phased in for small companies in their first year after going public. And the President wants to increase the Small Business Investment Company program to to allow for up to $4 billion in annual support.
President Obama is also calling on Congress to relieve the backlog of immigrant visas. To do that, he wants lawmakers to eliminate the country-specific caps for certain immigrant visas to attract more high skilled foreign workers, particularly entrepreneurs.
To learn more about all these proposals, go here.
- Posted byon January 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM EDT
Today, President Obama convened a meeting of his Cabinet to discuss the ideas he laid out in the State of the Union. Joining the meeting was a new member of that Cabinet -- Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration.
The President elevated Mills to ensure that entrepreneurs always have a direct line to the Oval Office. He said:
I mentioned at the State of the Union that there have been discussions, bipartisan discussions between Republicans and Democrats, about a whole set of measures that can accelerate financing to startup companies; can provide tax breaks to startups and small businesses that are interested in either hiring more workers or increasing their wages; that looks at innovative ways for them to raise capital.
And my expectation and hope is, is that they will get a bill together quickly, that they will pass it and get it on my desk. I will sign it right away, and I would like to see that bill signed this year.
The President also ran through what agencies like the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Education are doing to help American businesses as well. He said:
[What] we want to do is to make sure that every single agency, even as they’re tending to their energy initiatives or providing homeland security or transportation or defense, that we’re also thinking about how are we advancing the cause of giving small businesses and entrepreneurs opportunities to start creating the next Google or the next Apple or the next innovative company that’s going to create jobs and improve our economy.
Read the full remarks.
- Posted byon January 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM EDT
Ed note: In honor of the one year anniversary of Startup America, we invited Mike Krieger, the co-founder of Instagram, to contribute a post to WhiteHouse.gov. Instagram is the fastest growing social mobile startup in the U.S. today, and exemplifies President Obama's belief that "entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs." Mr. Krieger moved from Brazil to California to attend Stanford University, where he studied computer science and cognitive science. In 2010, he and a partner founded Instagram, which now employs a talented, growing team of designers and engineers. After graduation, Mr. Krieger worked for a year on his student F-1 visa, later applying for and receiving an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker. Mr. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the U.S. and has applied for a green card.
I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and from an early age was interested in technology and engineering. When I came to the United States in 2004 to attend university at Stanford, I was instantly inspired by the stories and advice from startup leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond, who had endeavoured to create new opportunities and improve lives around the world. I was drawn to the idea of one day helping to create a startup, and last year, I was fortunate to be given the chance. In May of 2010, I joined Kevin Systrom, my co-founder, and we created Instagram, a mobile social network that today has over 15 million users. What began as a small, two-person startup working out of a pier in San Francisco has grown to a dozen employees, and our plan is to at least double that this year. There are few better sights than walking into an office full of talented, hard-working folks, working together to build a great company from the ground up.
- Posted byon January 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM EDT
[Editor's Note: Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita is Founder, President, and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics in Cleveland, Ohio, and last Tuesday he was a guest in the First Lady's box at the 2012 State of the Union.]
Tuesday night, I was one of the First Lady’s guests for the State of the Union address, an immense honor and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Beyond the sheer magnitude of simply being there, the event was inspiring as President Obama focused significantly on issues of importance to me: advanced manufacturing competitiveness, small business growth, developing an educated workforce at all levels and supporting immigration policies that retain people like me in the United States after they graduate with science and technology degrees.
- Posted byon January 28, 2012 at 6:45 AM EDT
In his weekly address, President Obama discusses the blueprint he put forward this week in the State of the Union Address for creating an economy built to last. After focusing on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers during each of the last three days, he used his weekly address to highlight his commitment to a renewal of American values. The President is challenging leaders in Washington, DC to follow the model set by our men and women in the military, end the gridlock and start tackling the issues that matter – without regard for personal ambition.
- Watch the enhanced version of the 2012 State of the Union Address
- Read President Obama's Blueprint for an America Built to Last
- Take a deep dive into the data behind the President’s plan
- Find out how you can talk to Obama Administration officials about the President's plan
- Everything you need to know about President Obama's Blueprint for American-made energy
- Everything you need to know about President Obama's Blueprint for manufacturing
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM EDT
A quick look at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
State of the Union: In his third State of the Union Address on Tuesday, the President outlined his vision for “an America that lasts”—one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources—and presented a blueprint to achieve that vision. Check out this video that goes behind the scenes as President Obama prepared the speech.
Blueprint for Manufacturing: During his visit to New Hampshire following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Vice President Biden highlighted the Administration’s plan to help businesses bring jobs back to America through manufacturing. He echoed the President’s message that we need to commit to train workers with the skills they will need to compete in the growing sectors of our economy.
Talking Energy in Las Vegas: From a UPS facility in Las Vegas, the President spoke about the future of American-made energy. “[Even] with all this oil production, we only have about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves,” the President said, “So we've got to have an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy—a strategy that is cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs.”
#WHchat: Throughout the week, more than thirty administration officials have answered questions about President Obama’s State of the Union Address and issues Americans care about through a series of Office Hours on Twitter—addressing queries about everything from the economy to disability policy. Vice President Biden—known in the twitterverse as @VP—answered questions submitted by people across the country in his first-ever Twitter interview from an advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire.
NHL Champs: On Monday, the President welcomed the Boston Bruins to the White House and congratulated them on their Stanley Cup victory in June—marking the team’s sixth Cup championship, and their first one in nearly forty years. Their triumph, the President said, “proved that teamwork is everything.” After their visit to the White House, the players led a hockey clinic—affirming that being a champion doesn’t end when you hang up your skates.
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 3:32 PM EDT
Yesterday, Vice President Biden visited Rochester, New Hampshire to highlight the Administration’s plan to help businesses bring manufacturing jobs back to America. He made one central message clear: “America is coming back.”
As the Vice President emphasized, the policies the Obama Administration has put in place in its first three years are beginning to pay off—especially in manufacturing. The economy added 334,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two years, making it the strongest period of manufacturing job growth since the late 1990s. And now, instead of hearing about outsourcing, we’re finally starting to hear about insourcing as more and more companies realize that it makes real business sense to bring jobs back to America.
Manufacturers are coming back because, while costs in China are rising rapidly, “American workers are the most productive workers in the world,” the Vice President said. And to reinforce that advantage, we need more partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train workers with the specialized skills employers need.
Vice President Biden had the opportunity to see such a partnership in action in New Hampshire yesterday—a partnership that is reviving advanced manufacturing and bringing jobs back to the state.
- Posted byon January 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM EDT
This afternoon, Vice President Biden answered questions tweeted by people across the country in his first-ever Twitter interview. From an advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire, the Vice President answered your questions about taxes, the DREAM act and even his Super Bowl pick.
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 10:46 AM EDT
Americans who watched an online broadcast of President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address saw something a little different: a side by side display of charts, graphs and other visual representations of why the President's policies are so important for our country and our economy. You can see the slides here, or download them at slideshare
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 12:19 AM EDT
Tonight, the President outlined a series of ideas to build an economy that works for everyone, one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources.
Taken together, those ideas represent a blueprint for the future.
For decades, economic security for the middle class has been unraveling. Jobs that were once the source of stable livelihoods were shipped overseas. Those at the very top watched their incomes skyrocket, while the majority of Americans were stuck with stagnant salaries and rising costs. And all of this was happening before the worst economic crisis in generations.
What's it going to take to address this crisis?
We need to promote new skills and better education so that all Americans are prepared to compete in a global economy. That's why, tonight, the President said every state should require all students to stay in high school until they earn a diploma or turn 18. That's why the President called for a new partnership between community colleges and businesses to help train and place 2 million skilled workers.
- Posted byon January 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM EDT
Last Wednesday, we joined Dr. Jill Biden at the Code for America headquarters, a non-profit startup that has attracted dozens of civic-minded software developers spending a year building new products and services – powered, in part, by open government data – to improve the lives of everyday Americans.
Dr. Biden celebrated the convening efforts of Code and 10 apps developed by the private sector to improve the employment prospects for our Nation’s heroes – from apps that help veterans build new skills or a professional network, to a personalized list of open job postings. We observed the results of LinkedIn’s “Veterans Hackday” – two of the 44 apps built over a weekend; a collaboration between two tech companies that had never worked together before – Jibe and KMS Software – to deliver an almost-paperless approach to qualify for eligible tax credits; and the impressive work of a veteran entrepreneur, Fidelis, focused on the military to civilian transition.
We saw these and other “Apps for Heroes” because Code for America made a commitment last August in response to the President’s call to action. We joined Code on this mission and engaged a broader voluntary collaborative of tech firms already active in the employment and training online market. They didn’t ask us for money. Rather, we brainstormed how government data, if released in a people-and-computer-friendly format, could serve as “rocket fuel” for their apps.
And then we went to work.
Inspired by President Obama’s Open Government Initiative and guided by the U.S. National Action Plan, we identified at least three areas where we might open up data that had previously been either in an inaccessible format, organized in a fragmented way, or largely unknown to the developer community:
- Military Service Information: Veterans today collect a form – the DD-214 – that captures their military “resume”; while it can be electronically accessed, the data within the form is protected and in a form that isn’t accessible for a computer to read. Building on the momentum of VA’s initiative, Dr. Levin expanded their “Blue Button” service - which enables a veteran to safely and securely download their personal health data in computer-friendly form - to include a veteran’s service history, training, and credentials. Launched just in the beginning of December, over 60,000 veterans have already downloaded a “Blue Button” file that can be shared with the products and service as they see fit, like the apps for heroes we saw last week.
- Military Skills Translator: The Department of Labor actively supports a non-profit, the O*Net center, to maintain a growing portfolio of tools and data sets that are freely available to developers or anyone for that matter. The problem was that very few of the developers we engaged over the past several months were even aware of this resource. When we showed them what we had they immediately went to work on “translating” military experience into skills that are relevant for their existing products and services.
- Job Postings from Employers Seeking Veterans: President Obama launched the“Veterans Job Bank” last November, which provides access to hundreds of thousands of job postings from employers actively committed to hiring veterans. Built on an open standard, the “JobPosting” schema – endorsed by a coalition of search engines (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) through the schema.org community – empowers any employer to ensure its job postings are discoverable by the Job Bank. The big idea is that instead of requiring every employer to update a centralized database, we can dynamically “search” for veteran-committed jobs. Its faster, cheaper, and more reliable way to connect employers to talent. The Job Bank itself is accessible at the National Resource Directory and its search widget, built in an effort to support developers has offered an API that delivers search results straight to the app.
Finally, I thought to share the power of Open Innovation @ Internet speed. At a Summer Jobs + event last Tuesday, Twilio CEO, Jeff Lawson challenged the Twilio developer community to build an “App for Heroes.” In about an hour – from concept to go-live – developer Tony Webster built HeroJobs.org, a text messaging app that sends job alerts to veterans every morning based on their preferences, experience, and zip code.
We were humbled and honored that so many innovative firms volunteered their time and effort to incorporate these – and other open government data sets – as an important ingredient for their innovate employment or training support service. Our visit inspired us to push even harder to release government data, celebrate its use, and to engage our veterans directly to ensure they have the support they need in this important life transition.
Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Peter Levin is Chief Technology Officer and Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs
- Posted byon January 20, 2012 at 3:58 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Disney World to announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. The fact is, each year, tens of millions of people from around the world visit the U.S. In 2010, the travel and tourism industry generated over $134 billion dollars for the American economy. It supported 7.5 million jobs in 2010. The President wants these numbers to grow.
He traveled down to the Magic Kingdom yesterday to deliver one message: America is open for business.
The President wants the United States to be the number one tourist destination in the world. It’s good for businesses and it’s good for the economy as a whole. More tourists means more money spent in our cities and towns across the nation. It means more people will be renting cars, dining out, checking into hotels and checking out the sights and sounds of America. That means more jobs.
The President will continue to do everything he can to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try. He wants to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. Yesterday’s announcement was an important step to put folks back to work, and he’ll keep at it and continue to do everything he can to strengthen the economy.
The President’s announcement will have an impact on communities all over the United States. Let’s take a look at the coverage from local media outlets across the country:
Orlando Sentinel – Obama at Disney: 'America is open for business'
President Barack Obama promised Florida's tourism industry Thursday that he intends to open the door wider to international tourists and was greeted with cheers in a state where increased foreign visitors are seen as one of the best hopes for future jobs.
Even Obama critic U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, welcomed the presidential directives, if only with a "what took him so long?" spin.
Arizona Republic – Obama touting tourism for jobs
President Barack Obama said Thursday that he wants to create more jobs by drawing more international tourists to the United States, a plan White House officials said would especially benefit states like Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon and other national parks.
Creating jobs has become a central part of Obama's re-election campaign. On Wednesday, Obama will visit the Valley as part of a five-state tour to build upon themes -- likely jobs and economic development -- that he will emphasize Tuesday in his annual address to Congress.
- Posted byon January 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM EDT
President Obama discusses steps he's taking to ensure that more goods and products stamped "Made in America" are sold in the United States and around the world.
- Posted byon January 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM EDT
Today, President Obama announced a new plan that will make it easier to do business in America.
There are currently six major federal departments or agencies that focus on business or trade: the U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
The President is asking Congress for the authority to merge those six entities into a single department tasked with boosting American business and promoting competitiveness.
The way the system is currently organized, every entrepreneur who needs to do business with the government has to navigate a maze of overlapping regulations and competing bureaucracy.
We've put together a chart that shows exactly how impossible that process can be.
This move from President Obama would change that.
He's hoping to consolidate the redundancies that currently exist, to cut waste, and eliminate duplication.
By the way, this kind of authority isn't new or rare. Presidents had the ability to mandate this type of reorganization for almost the entire period from 1932 through 1984.
And the executive branch of the federal government shouldn't be stuck in 1984.
- Posted byon January 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM EDT
Yesterday, the White House hosted the “Insourcing American Jobs” forum with business leaders from across the country to discuss one topic: bringing jobs back to the United States. For too long factories have closed their doors and companies have shipped jobs overseas, where workers were cheaper. It’s damaged the economy and hurt middle class families all across the nation. The President believes we can change that.
Right now, we have a great opportunity for those jobs to come back – and the business leaders that joined President Obama yesterday understand that. We’re seeing an increasing trend of insourcing, where companies are bringing jobs back and making additional investments in America. Over the past two years American manufacturers have now added 334,000 jobs. Manufacturing production has increased by 5.7 percent. That’s a good thing, but we need to do more. That’s why the President called on companies to follow this trend and invest in America.
The President is working to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. He’ll continue to build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. He knows this is a make or break moment for the middle class, and he’ll continue to do everything he can to give folks a fair shot and a chance to succeed.
He knows that America shouldn’t be a nation known for financial speculation and outsourcing. As he said yesterday, America should be known for making products and selling them all over the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”
The next generation of manufacturing jobs shouldn’t take root in countries like China or Germany – they should take root in cities across America. Some companies are already leading the way. Let’s take a look at news coverage of yesterday’s event from across the country:
McClatchy/Charlotte Observer/Miami Herald - Rebuilding a business, bringing jobs back
WASHINGTON – North Carolina has lost tens of thousands of furniture-making jobs over the past decade.
But Bruce Cochrane, who worked as a consultant in China and Vietnam after his family sold their furniture business in 1996, says rising Chinese wages and an increase in shipping costs have created an opportunity for him back home.
Cochrane has invested $5 million and is hiring 130 workers to build middle- to higher-priced solid-wood furniture in the same sprawling Lincolnton, N.C., warehouse that his family once ran. He even moved into his dad’s old office.
Now, President Barack Obama wants to know what Cochrane saw and why he’s taking such a chance in a region and industry battered by outsourced jobs. Cochrane stood Wednesday in the East Room of the White House as Obama said the Lincolnton man was proof that you don’t have to be a big manufacturer to make a difference.