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via:usatoday.com

Obama will ask a new jobs council made up of business executives, labor leaders and economists how the government can change its tax, trade and regulatory policies to improve the business environment. The group meets for the first time today.

“The president is looking for good ideas that he can put into action quickly,” said White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the president’s emissary to the business community.

Obama “wants to make sure that the federal government is doing everything that we can to foster the kind of environment where companies want to invest and grow and hire people right here in America,” she told USA TODAY.

Among the efforts underway as Obama works to reset his strained relationship with business: winning congressional approval of the South Korea free-trade agreement, reviewing government regulations and linking businesses with community colleges to improve graduates’ skills. Obama also wants to overhaul the corporate tax code.

Business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce want more: approval of pending trade deals with Colombia and Panama, as well as funding to improve the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

 The White House Council of Economic Advisers predicts the economy will grow from 2.7% this year to 3.6% in 2012 and 4.4% in 2013. It forecasts unemployment will decline from 9% to 7.5% in 2013.

By the end of the new jobs council’s tenure in 2013, “we need to have a growth rate substantially higher than it has been and put people back to work,” said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

the jobs council’s chairman, said in an interview that he will run it like a business: with teams, deadlines, “tactical focused areas” and “deliverables.” “It’s not like there’s an easy button” to spur investment, Immelt said. But “there’s a lot of financial strength out there. There’s a lot of cash. There’s a lot of liquidity.”

Small businesses, which create two-thirds of all new jobs, say they have felt left out of the administration’s effort to connect with the private sector.

“It feels like (an effort to win) political points,” said Jean Card of the National Federation of Independent Business, which has 350,000 members.

Jarrett said Obama wants the jobs council to develop long-term strategies to train the nation’s workforce for the high-tech jobs of the future, and to suggest ways to foster innovation.

“Who are the Mark Zuckerbergs of tomorrow?” she said of Facebook‘s 26-year-old founder, one of several Internet titans who dined with Obama last week. “We want to make sure we harness that innovative spirit.”