White House jobs summit: Eight ideas to aid job growth
As the White House hosts a jobs summit Thursday, here are a range of ideas – from shorter work hours to a second stimulus – to fix the rising unemployment rate.
(Page 2 of 2)
If you can’t hire them, train ’em. The 15 million unemployed American workers include many whose old jobs will not come back as the economy recovers. The jobless also include many high-school graduates with limited access to internships or other opportunities. Government-supported training opportunities could help both groups be better prepared after today’s job-drought eases, says Margaret Simms, a researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Provide more aid to states. Obama’s initial stimulus helped reduce layoffs in 2009 by state and local governments. But without additional support, more cuts appear likely in 2010. A job saved is one that doesn’t need to be created.
Create jobs through direct spending. Some economists say fear of deficits is misplaced, and that government should take a much stronger role in job creation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is already boosting spending on infrastructure projects such as roads, but Gary Burtless, a labor expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, calls for more such spending. The industries hardest hit by job losses include construction and makers of heavy machinery, both of which would benefit.
Another sector ripe for job creation is energy, such as retrofitting homes and buildings to cut heating and electric bills, says Professor Galbraith. The question policymakers should ask is, “How many jobs do you need to create?” he says, not how much it will add to the deficit.
Americans want Washington to do something. “Economy/jobs” is the top priority for 45 percent of Americans, according to a recent CBS News poll, versus about 20 percent for the second-place issue, healthcare.
But polls also show voters are worried about rising federal deficits. In a November survey, members of the National Association for Business Economics ranked US deficits above unemployment as their top concern.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill appear mindful of this.
“What they’re looking at is trying to help the economy help itself,” says Scott Lilly, a public-finance expert at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington. The goal, he says, is “to provide as much stimulus with as little increase in the deficit as possible.”
Given all this, it seems likely that Obama and Congress will end up steering a middle path.
President Obama acknowledged his conundrum in a recent interview on Fox News: “One of the trickiest things we’re doing right now is to, on the one hand, make sure the recovery is supported and ... at the same time, making sure that we’re setting up a pathway long term for deficit reduction.”