40+ reasons for optimism

The economic outlook for August was the most disappointing of the year. The August jobs report displayed some of the worst numbers we’ve seen to date—adding approximately 70,000 fewer jobs than previously projected. Unemployment still stands at 6.1 percent, which is a deceivingly-low number that changes drastically after factoring in the number of Americans who have given up looking for work. There are too many part-time workers flooding our markets, and job turnover is abnormally low – a clear indicator that our country is in need of more jobs and greater opportunity.

While our job market is weak and our economy anything but stable, there are more than 40 reasons Americans should remain optimistic. House Republicans have worked diligently to pass bills that would provide relief to the hardworking Americans back home. While we are doing our part to pass pro-growth legislation that will provide economic certainty and promote a strong workforce, it would certainly be helpful to have a Senate that is willing to do the same. To date, we have passed more than forty common-sense bills directly related to job creation and growth, yet all of them continue to gather dust on Senator Reid’s desk.

To tackle our nation’s unemployment, the House has passed numerous pieces of legislation to get Americans back on their feet. The SKILLS Act would help workers acquire the education and skills-training they need for in-demand jobs. It provides new opportunities and helps to close the gap between the skillset of the unemployed and the jobs available to them—a trend economists have made note of numerous times. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will move more Americans from the part-time work they need more of to the full-time jobs they desire. This hands-on training and education will allow employees to transition into a new line of work or move up the ladder—restoring the promise of opportunity to the American people.

Perhaps one of the greatest bipartisan jobs bills yet to be addressed is the Keystone XL Pipeline. Not only would this legislation create tens of thousands of jobs and ease the burden of high gas prices for Americans, but it would provide our country with much-needed energy independence. A report from the Congressional Research Service shows that production of natural gas on non-federal lands has increased by 33 percent, and yet it has dropped by 28 percent here on federal lands. With a plurality of Democrats supporting the pipeline, it’s time the president put petty politics aside and get behind the pipeline.  Energy independence and job creation are at stake.

There are a record number of Americans not working and the unemployment rate for young people is more than twice the total unemployment rate—standing at an a staggering 13.6 percent. This is no time for partisan politics—it’s time to pass the more than 40 jobs bills that have been sitting on Harry Reid’s desk for the last year and a half.

— Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

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