Former President Bill Clinton opened a two-day conference in Chicago focused on job creation by urging greater lending to help the U.S. economy recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
“We continue to struggle with this economy and the low rate of business formation and job creation,” Clinton said in his opening remarks at the conference.
“The banks of America now have well over $2 trillion in cash not committed to loans,” Clinton said. “There is nowhere near $2 trillion in loan demand out there now, but there’s more than is presently being satisfied.”
The Clinton Global Initiative conference, being held at a Chicago hotel, marks the first time the former president has held such a gathering focused solely on the United States. He established the initiative in 2005.
The conference’s goal is to develop new ideas for spurring economic growth and to highlight existing programs that can be replicated and expanded elsewhere.
“We also know that we have the power to turn things around and that every job matters,” Clinton said. “There are facts in the American economy that give me hope and things in my own experience that give me hope.”
More than 750 business and government leaders will attend the conference, as well as three members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, Clinton said.
The recession that hit the U.S. economy officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. During that period, the world’s largest economy shrank 4.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported last year.