(New throughout with more details)
By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON Feb 5 U.S. President Barack Obama
on Friday will name a panel of outside advisers who will help
shape his response to the recession and the worst financial
crisis since the Great Depression.
Obama announced in November that former Federal Reserve
Chairman Paul Volcker would lead the Economic Recovery Advisory
Board, a group that would include businesspeople, labor experts
and academic economists.
The panel is modeled after the Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board, which was created under former President Dwight
Eisenhower and gives advice on intelligence matters.
"President Obama and Paul Volcker will announce the members
of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and outline
plans for the board moving forward at an event at the White
House tomorrow," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The naming of the panel comes amid a raft of data showing
the economy is sinking deeper into recession as layoffs surge.
Economists are bracing for more grim news on Friday when
the Labor Department issues its January employment report at
8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).
Analysts polled by Reuters predicted the data will show
U.S. employers slashed another 525,000 workers from their
payrolls after cutting 524,000 jobs in December.
Obama said part of the intent of the economic panel was to
make sure he avoided "insular" decision-making.
Volcker is among several high-profile players advising
Obama on economic policy. The team also includes Lawrence
Summers, the former Treasury secretary who is now head of the
National Economic Council, and Timothy Geithner, the former New
York Federal Reserve president who is now Treasury secretary.
Volcker, 81, played a big role advising Obama during the
campaign and gave the Democratic candidate a boost when he
publicly endorsed him a year ago.
As Federal Reserve chairman from 1979 to 1987 under former
Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Volcker was credited
with making the tough decision to ratchet interest rates
sharply higher to break the back of a U.S. inflation cycle.
Austan Goolsbee, a longtime Obama adviser, is serving as
staff director and chief economist for the 15-member economic
advisory panel. Goolsbee is also a member of the White House
Council of Economic Advisers.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Anthony Boadle)