Jackson Cit Pat: Tim Walberg says Washington needs to do a better job of promoting policies to boost job creation
The recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) September employment report certainly wasn't worth the wait. Delayed because of the government shutdown, September's jobs report disappointed as our economy added just 148,000 jobs, fewer than the previous month's and slower than the average pace of growth within the last year. Perhaps more telling, 136,000 fewer Americans participated in the labor force, keeping the labor force participation rate at its lowest level since the 1970's at 63.2%. That's in addition to the 11 million who are unemployed and actively searching for work. While these dismal numbers may look like the new normal, Americans deserve better.
Washington needs to do a better job of promoting policies to boost job creation. Rather than looking to big government solutions that only grow the bureaucracy, we should look to those with the best track record at creating the most jobs – small businesses. Not only do they employ about half of people working in the private sector, but their knack for innovation, tendency to promote healthy competition and drive to succeed keeps our economy afloat. Unfortunately, many of them have only been frustrated in recent years by the federal government's unaffordable health care law, overwhelming regulations and a complicated tax code.
We also need to help job seekers. Many Michiganders have trouble finding work because they can't cut through the bureaucratic red tape that keeps them from accessing the specific job training they need for the industries that have jobs available. Earlier this year, the House passed the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act to eliminate or consolidate proven ineffective job training programs, while also removing roadblocks that keep job seekers from getting the training they need in careers such as design manufacturing, engineering, technology, construction and healthcare. With better education and the right training, we could see more jobs fulfilled in Michigan and across the nation.
Sound investment in infrastructure is another important component in helping our economy recover. In late October the House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) to authorize ports and waterway infrastructure projects. Our nation's waterways are vital to a healthy economy and job creation and this reauthorization makes necessary reforms to streamline the approval of important infrastructure projects while promoting American competitiveness and fiscal responsibility. It passed the House with strong bipartisan support, by a vote of 417-3, proving that it is possible for Washington to come together to enact common sense reforms that save money and boost our economy.
It's not complicated. If we want to better prepare job seekers to fill those jobs, we must equip them with the skills they need and make sure they're not being held back by federal red tape. And if we want to know how to foster a healthy economy we must keep talking to the 28 million small businesses and focus on real solutions that strengthen the economy like simplifying the tax code and reducing the regulatory burden. We need the President and Senate to listen and work with the House in a good faith, bipartisan effort to allow for significant job creation and recovery.
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