While many economists agree the recession ended two years ago, it is an unfortunate reality that millions of Americans are still struggling to find work.
In August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was at 9.1 percent and affecting approximately 14 million Americans. Today, job creation is practically at a standstill. Now more than ever, we need initiatives to help get people back to work. One of the major problems holding back growth in the private sector is the recent stagnation in consumer demand.
The scars left from the recent recession and housing crisis have made consumers hesitant to start buying again, and for good reason. Many Americans are unsure of their future or if they will have a job in six months. And given tepid demand for the products and services many businesses offer, employers are reluctant to hire more aggressively until consumer demand starts to rise again.
In an effort to combat high unemployment, President Barack Obama recently released a comprehensive jobs plan called the American Jobs Act, designed to stimulate job growth and encourage businesses to start hiring again. The president’s message is simple: We need to act now to inject confidence back into the marketplace and create more consumer demand in our economy. By making long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, we can help millions of Americans rejoin the workforce now.
The American Jobs Act will implement reforms and regulatory reductions to help businesses access capital more easily, invest in infrastructure, school building rehabilitation and neighborhood improvement projects, and implement innovative reforms to the unemployment insurance program.
Locally, I’ve been fighting to rejuvenate our economy, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the newly created Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. With a more localized, community-based system working on economic development, our council has the opportunity to showcase the diversity of our region and what we have to offer. Along with bringing jobs to the area, the council competes with councils from around the state to provide the funds we need to achieve our economic goals. We will be able to capitalize on our unique strengths as a region so we can build a strong economy from the ground up — harvesting our ideas, people and local assets.
It’s time we start investing in our future to jumpstart our economy and grow our workforce now. The president’s plan to get our country back on track isn’t a short-term fix, it is one that will help millions out of unemployment and strengthen our country’s infrastructure for years to come.