WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has discussed economic priorities with hundreds of mayors visiting Washington from across the U.S.

Obama hosted a White House reception Thursday for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

At the start of the meeting, Obama praised the mayors for progress on homelessness, early childhood education and youth employment. He contrasted the effectiveness of mayors with gridlock in Washington during brief remarks before reporters were escorted out.

The visiting mayors also met with top Obama advisers and Cabinet secretaries, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The White House says they discussed ways the federal government can partner with local communities to increase opportunities for Americans.

The White House says the secretaries told the mayors they're committed to working on infrastructure, education and the economy.