Gallup says Americans think now is a good time to find a good-paying job. A spokesman for the Alliance of American Manufacturing says now is a great time to invest in jobs that involve making something.
The U.S. economy is humming along, with many positive indicators. However, one not-so-good metric is the disappearance of so-called middle income jobs, the kind of jobs traditionally found in the manufacturing sector.
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance, says this is a critical time to invest in programs that promote job growth, especially in manufacturing. His suggestions, which are aimed at the new GOP-controlled Congress taking office in January, include:
- Take advantage of low gas prices to raise the revenue to boost lagging investment in roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and the electricity transmission grid. Paul says 21,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion in infrastructure investment.
- Reform the federal tax code to encourage domestic manufacturing and discourage outsourcing.
- Address currency manipulation by China, which gives an advantage to its manufacturers at the expense of U.S. manufacturers.
- Push for more open markets, but enforce fair-trade rules.
- Make smart investments in worker training to create better alignment with high-paying technical jobs that stay vacant for lack of qualified candidates.
- Foster innovation in technology and processes to keep U.S. production on the cutting edge.
- Expand and leverage the U.S. energy advantage with growing sources of low-cost oil and natural gas production.
Paul says Americans across the political spectrum consistently express support for pro-manufacturing policies. He sees no reason for the next Congress not to set aside partisan gridlock to inject a shot of growth in a sector that has generated living-wage jobs over most of America for decades.