There's a critical missing ingredient that's put the brakes on economic recovery: new jobs.
We don't have nearly enough of them. In preparation for Labor Day, government officials and business leaders alike were brainstorming about new ways to get what we really need: more jobs, and quick.
Here are six of the ideas for stimulating job growth being discussed right now:
Approve more free-trade agreements. The U.S. Chamber is bullish on this one, estimating 380,000 jobs could be saved and thousands more created if already pending trade agreements could just get officially signed into law.
- Green light infrastructure projects. This is a time-honored way to get jobs humming, particularly in the hard-hit construction industry. Both the Chamber and President Barack Obama are on it -- the president has instructed the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Transportation to each identify and fast track up to three high-priority infrastructure projects that already have funding, and get them rolling within 18 months.
- Go green. The president's Better Buildings Initiative aims to create jobs while upgrading buildings for energy efficiency, saving American businesses $40 billion in energy costs.
- Tax credits. Yes, you've heard this one before, but the idea of extending previous tax credits for companies that add jobs (now expired) is reportedly back on Obama's list for consideration.
- More internships in key fields. The President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has been out convincing big companies to hire more engineering interns, to create more opportunity and stimulate interest in science and technology fields, where the U.S. is forecast to have a shortfall of trained workers in future. Maybe this one's not so much about creating jobs as trying to fill science jobs with American workers rather than immigrants from India and China.
- Remove regulatory barriers. Even though the Obama administration recently moved to trim much of the regulatory red-tape weighing businesses down, the Chamber and Republicans in general want to see even more action on this front. Though, for many businesses this is more of a state or local problem than a national one.
Of course, a lot of these ideas are focused on bigger-picture changes rather than small ones that may deliver quicker results. Big programs tend to help big businesses, and then maybe those corporations or government agencies subcontract to some smaller businesses and the job creation trickles down to entrepreneurs. We'll see which of these ideas can get off the ground anyway, given the Democratic President/Republican House of Representatives divide.
What's your top idea for immediate job creation? Leave a comment and let us know.