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Obama Jobs Council Disbands

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dormant for more than a year, President Obama's Jobs Council formally disbanded on Thursday, as the White House signals a new phase in its engagement of business leaders on top economic and policy priorities.

The nonpartisan advisory council of 25 private-sector business and labor leaders was first convened in February 2011. It has met just four times since then to generate ideas for boosting job growth, most recently at the White House last January.

"The Jobs Council was always intended to have a two-year charter; its charter expires today," an administration official said in a statement.

While the council will no longer exist, its vision and ideas would be advanced through a "new, expanded effort to work with the business community and other outside groups," officials said.

Republicans have seized on the transition as an opportunity to highlight the sluggish pace of economic recovery, which has persisted into Obama's second term. The national unemployment rate is hovering near 8 percent and an estimated 12 million Americans are still looking for work. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. economy contracted, the government reported Monday, defying economists' expectations and underscoring lingering economic woes.

"To understand the abysmal nature of our economic recovery, look no further than the president's disinterest in learning lessons from actual job creators," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"The president treated his Jobs Council as more of a nuisance than a vehicle to spur job creation," Buck said, alluding to the group's limited number of meetings.

The purpose of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- its full official title -- was "to provide non-partisan advice to the president on continuing to strengthen the nation's economy and ensure the competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people," according to its website.

It was chaired by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

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