The unemployment numbers released by the Labor Department today are discouraging news for the millions of Americans seeking work. Our economy is stuck at 9.5 percent unemployment, and Congress should be pulling out the stops to put America’s middle class back to work in the manufacturing industry. Last week the House passed a bill that establishes the equivalent of a Blue Ribbon commission to study manufacturing jobs. We’re encouraged to see this focus on manufacturing, but a study commission is not enough. Our nation’s unemployed need concrete action on jobs – and they need it now. There are two simple, yet fundamental, things Congress can do not only to improve the outlook for equipment manufacturing jobs but for our nation’s long-term, sustainable economic growth and global competitiveness:
- Generate economic activity by rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, sewer, clean water and flood control systems – starting immediately with the long overdue reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs.
- Help our farmers and manufacturers create more jobs in the U.S. by exporting their products to new markets around the world. One very direct way to do this is by passing the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
This is what the AEM stands for – it’s also what America wants.