The President presented a comprehensive, credible jobs plan last night that should refocus policymaker’s attention to and action on the country’s job deficit. It is after all the lack of jobs that has led to significant economic hardship for Americans and North Carolinians and held down the economic expansion necessary to create opportunity and navigate out of the Great Recession.
Estimates suggest that the American Jobs Act could create 4.6 million jobs, closing nearly half of the country’s job deficit of 11 million.
How will it do that? The plan includes many proven policies—to name just some of them, extension of unemployment insurance benefits, establishing a worksharing program, investing in repairing and modernizing the country’s schools and roads, a subsidized jobs program for low-income youth and adults, and ensuring teachers remain in the classroom and first responders in communities.
Some will require significant monitoring to ensure they are achieving their goal. The President highlighted Opportunity NC, based on the Georgia Works model, that aims to connect workers receiving unemployment insurance with a training opportunity. While more data is needed to examine the effectiveness of this measure in North Carolina, it is critical that these training opportunities provide true skill development for workers without jobs and the potential for placement in good, quality employment. Similarly, efforts to encourage hiring in small businesses through tax credits should be structured to ensure that jobs created are good, quality, permanent jobs and that dollars invested deliver a significant return.
The American Jobs Act provides an important outline for policymakers to immediately use to get to work. The evidence in North Carolina, and the country, are clear: greater collective effort and investment will be needed to put workers back to work and get the economy on track.