President Obama urged corporate executives Friday not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed when making hiring decisions.
"All they need is a fair shot," Obama said after a meeting with executives who have pledged to apply "best practices" when it comes to hiring people who have been out of work for months and even years.
"We've got to get these folks back in the game," the president said.
Companies invited to the White House included Visa, McDonalds, Marriott and Boeing.
Studies have shown that companies are less likely to hire people who have been out for work for a half-a-year or longer.
"It's a cruel Catch-22," Obama said. "The longer you're unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem."
Obama also signed an order requiring the federal government to take long-term unemployment into account when making hiring decisions.
During his remarks, Obama also criticized Congress for allowing unemployment insurance to lapse at the turn of the year. He again called on lawmakers to renew those benefits.
The meeting with business executives served as another follow-up to Tuesday night's State of the Union Address, in which Obama said, "I've been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at new jobs, a new chance to support their families."
On Wednesday and Thursday, Obama traveled to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Tennessee to discuss other State of the Union proposals. Those included a minimum wage hike, a new retirement system, job training and education programs.