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Obama to outline new plans for jobless next week

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a reception with U.S. mayors at the White House in Washington January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a reception with U.S. mayors at the White House in Washington January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will announce a new plan next week to help Americans who continue to struggle to find jobs even as the economy recovers from recession, his senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, said on Saturday.

Obama's efforts to help the long-term unemployed are part of an economic strategy he will lay out in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday and expound upon during a four-state tour, Pfeiffer said in a mass email from the White House.

"With some action on all our parts, we can help more job seekers find work, and more working Americans find the economic security they deserve," Pfeiffer said in his email.

Obama has vowed to address the gap between rich and poor in America, and has said he will do what he can - even without help from a deeply divided Congress that, so far, has shown little willingness to spend money on new programs.

He has said he will take executive actions to push forward his agenda, as well as the power of the highest office in the nation to motivate business and community leaders to take additional steps.

A White House official said Obama will announce in his Tuesday speech new executive actions on retirement security and job training to help middle-class workers "expand economic opportunity" - a key theme of the speech.

Already this year, Congress thwarted Obama's efforts to extend jobless benefits for people who have been unsuccessfully seeking work for more than six months.

Benefits for 1.5 million Americans expired at the end of 2013. The Senate failed in mid-January to agree on a plan to renew the benefits.

Obama will hammer home his economic plans during a two-day, four-state trip to Prince George's County, Maryland, and Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and Milwaukee and Nashville on Thursday, an official said.

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, on Wednesday to talk about "education and workforce development," the White House said. He will be accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, who is a community college teacher.

After Obama's trip, he will return to the White House "to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed," Pfeiffer said in his statement.

Obama had promised earlier this month that he would bring a group of chief executive officers to the White House in an effort to persuade them to hire more people from the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

"We're going to try to work with CEOs to make a pledge that we're going to take a second look at these Americans who are very eager to get back to work and have the capacity to do so, but aren't getting the kind of shot that they need," Obama said on January 14 ahead of a meeting with his cabinet.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gunna Dickson)

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