President Barack Obama greets supporters after speaking at McGavock High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Also pictured is former Vice President Al Gore, behind. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
President Barack Obama greets supporters after speaking at McGavock High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Also pictured is former Vice President Al Gore, behind. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
President Barack Obama greets supporters after speaking at McGavock High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Also pictured is former Vice President Al Gore, behind. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is drawing attention to businesses hiring long-term unemployed workers and is encouraging the private sector to do more to offer work to the nearly 4 million Americans who have been jobless for half a year or more.

Obama calls the plight of such workers a, quote, “cruel Catch-22.”

He says: “The longer you are unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem.”

But he says such workers are often better qualified and better educated than workers who just recently lost their jobs.

Obama spoke Friday at an event in the White House with CEOs, previously unemployed workers and worker advocates.

He also signed a presidential memo directing the federal government not to discriminate against long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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