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Job creation is key to a thriving economy. While unemployment numbers have dropped over the last year, millions of jobless Americans continue to search for work every day. For these folks, a job in 2013 would be a welcome change. The only way to help these individuals and our economy recover is to tear down barriers to job creation and get Washington out of the way.
In December, the economy added 155,000 jobs while unemployment rose to 7.8 percent. Adding more Americans to payrolls is good news, but there is a long way to go. The economy is not strong enough or growing fast enough to return to pre-recession employment rates any time soon. According to The Hamilton Project, if the U.S. continues to add 155,000 jobs each month it would take until after 2025 to close the “job gap.” This is a far cry from what is needed.
Many Americans have simply become discouraged and stopped looking for work. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that that the total unemployment rate for December is actually 14.4 percent if including individuals who have given up looking for work, as well as those who have only found part-time jobs.
Small businesses generate roughly 70 percent of new jobs created in the United States. However, a surveyy by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that only one in five small businesses plans to hire new employees in 2013. Government regulations and mandates continue to stand in the way. The new health care law requires that businesses with at least 50 full-time employees provide health insurance for workers starting in 2014. Some predict that many of these businesses will likely start paring down employee hours this year and avoid hiring new employees to combat the costs associated with the mandate, making it even more difficult to create jobs.
The federal government could take a cue from Virginia, named the top regulatory environment for business in 2012 based on creating a regulatory environment that yields positive results for job creation and economic growth. Spending and debt must also be addressed. Congress should focus on enacting commonsense fiscal policies that foster an economic environment that encourages innovation and investment – not one riddled with debt.
As your representative, advancing policies that put Americans back to work remains a high priority for me. Economic growth must become a real goal for Washington. I hope that the White House and the Democratic majority in the Senate will also share this policy goal. Holding back job creation is not the role of the federal government. I will continue to work for solutions to get government out of the way so small businesses and entrepreneurs can create jobs and put Americans back to work.