Solving the Job Creation Conundrum

Across the country, every job that opens nowadays is seemingly inundated with applications mere minutes after it’s posted.

In Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock job fair drew thousands of applicants for potential work as “maids, cooks, security guards and card dealers” at a hotel and casino.

And in New York: “Hundreds Line Up In Queens For Chance At Job As Ironworker.”

The job market isn’t just bad in Florida and New York. It’s bad everywhere. The economy is simply not producing enough new jobs to sustain the American workforce.

Of course, the government would like us to think otherwise. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a study finding that there are now 3.4 unemployed workers per job opening in America. That represents a steady decline since the “official” end of the recession.

But the figure is still nearly double what it was in December 2007, when there were just 1.8 unemployed workers per job opening.

Further, the BLS’s new numbers ignore the more than 9 million Americans who have dropped out of the workforce since the Great Recession began.

With so many people applying for so few spots, it’s clear that many Americans – more than the official unemployment rate counts – are desperate for work. Many applicants may have the necessary skills. But it’s hard to stand out in a crowd of thousands of job seekers.

The job market around Syracuse, New York is representative of the employment crisis plaguing the country.

The “official” unemployment rate around Syracuse has remained above 8 percent despite an increase in the number of jobs in the area, according to a recent report from the New York Department of Labor.

Those new jobs are great. But a more comprehensive approach is needed to put a dent in the unemployment rate — and ultimately get everyone who wants to work back on the job.

Localities like Syracuse can’t do it alone. Our nation’s leaders have to step in.

They should look back to how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt got Americans working again during the Great Depression. His Works Progress Administration (WPA) — a core part of the New Deal — helped 8.5 million Americans to get back to work with jobs at myriad public works projects around the country.

In addition to employing millions of Americans, the WPA provided the nation with 800 airports, 125,000 buildings, and 650,000 miles of road — many of which are still in use today. This program could serve as the perfect blueprint to reduce the number of unemployed Americans.

As news stories from Florida and New York illustrate, Americans really do want to get back to work. A modern-day WPA could deliver employment for them.

 

 

 

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