The Obama administration will discontinue its jobs council despite persistent unemployment and news this week that the economy shrunk.

The council, created in 2011, has met in full only four times in its two-year existence and was up for re-authorization this week. The administration says it will instead find different ways to encourage job growth, opting to close down a program that had become the target of Republican criticism.

“The president is grateful to the members of the Jobs Council for their effort and service over the past two years, and looks forward to working with them moving forward on these important issues,” a White House official said Thursday.

An administration aide told The Hill last week the council of top economists and business leaders “was only intended” to last through its original two-year term.

The White House said Thursday the administration would launch “a new, expanded effort to work with the business community and other outside groups to advance specific policy priorities promoted by the Jobs Council,” and that such efforts would include promoting small businesses and infrastructure improvements.

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