The task is enormous, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on the right track. It is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to promote job growth and to focus on what the chamber sees as the dangers of government meddling in the private marketplace.
The chamber is seeking the creation of 20 million jobs over the next decade. That is the No. 1 weapon to end economic recession and prevent a full-fledged depression. Some spin doctors are declaring that The Great Recession of the past two years is nearing an end. But they are discussing a “jobless recovery” that has too many soft spots.
Many experts declare that the current recession will not be over until the nation’s unemployment rate drops below 6 percent. Right now it stands at around 10 percent, and rising, and that means a lot of concern and misery for millions of Americans. Jobs have to be found or created, and 20 million new ones over 10 years is a worthy goal.
“That’s how many jobs we must have to re-employ the unemployed and keep pace with a growing population,” says Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber. “The government can support a few jobs in the short run. But over the long run, only the private sector — powered by free enterprise — can keep America working.”
About 7.2 million jobs have been lost because of our deepest recession since the 1930s.
Locally, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is partnering with local government, the League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County and the Journal-World to organize a community summit to look at ways to create more jobs in the Lawrence area. The summit is open to the public, and participants will engage in round table discussions about job-related issues. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Lawrence High School cafeteria.
There are encouraging signs about trends for economic recovery and some are saying the worst may have been avoided. But that offers little consolation to people who have no jobs, whose unemployment and health benefits have run out and who have to make agonizing decisions to maintain mere survival.
No matter how bright the market reports and bank statements may sound, we still are ensnarled in a “jobless recovery.” Until more people go back to work and the unemployment rate is below at least 6 percent, we cannot pat ourselves on our backs very much.