Help wanted: Obama calls on CEOs to take on long-term jobless

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will meet on Friday with the leaders of more than 20 big companies which have agreed not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed, part of his initiatives to get the jobless back to work. “It’s saying that those who are long-term unemployed should get a fair shot,” said Gene Sperling, Obama’s top economic advisor. The U.S. jobless rate has remained stubbornly high at 6.7 percent, but Sperling told reporters the rate would be closer to 5 percent were it not for the barriers to finding work for the long-term unemployed. “We are trying to address what we feel is the heart of that negative cycle, which is the potential stigmatization of people merely for the sake that they are long-term unemployed,” said Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

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