President Obama pledges to help long-term unemployed

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Obama said he is looking for ways to stimulate job growth and help the economy - even if he has to do it without Congress.

He announced Friday that 300 American companies have committed to helping the long-term unemployed get back to work. The President also signed a memo directing the federal government to not discriminate against the long-term unemployed when it comes to hiring.

Finishing up his post state of the union message blitz, President Obama Friday turned his attention to job creation.

"We've got to do more to restore opportunity for every American," Obama said.

Nearly 4 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed—out of a job for 27 weeks or more.

And President Obama said that too often, they don't get the same consideration for jobs, even when they're competing against candidates with the same resume and experience.

"It's a cruel catch-22.  The longer you're unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem," Obama said.

The President announced Friday that nearly 300 US companies, including Boeing, Mcdonald's and Marriott have pledged to reach out and try to help those Americans who have been looking for work for far too long without any luck.

"We're turning away someone who had a chink in their credit but of course they have a chink in their credit because they've gone a long period looking for a job," the President said. "It does not mean they're not qualified."

Last month, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent - the lowest it has been since Oct. 2008.

But there are more than 1.3 million Americans in limbo, waiting to see if Congress will extend the monthly unemployment benefits they were getting, but expired at the end of last year.

President Obama repeated his call for congress to act Friday.

"Unemployment insurance provides that extra bit of security so that losing your livelihood doesn't mean you lose everything that you've worked so hard to build," Obama said.

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