Posts Tagged: job creation

Stimulus In a Parallel Universe: What America Can Learn from ‘Put Illinois to Work’

Tonya Grisby, a 39 year-old grandmother who lives in Chicago’s predominantly black and mostly poor Austin neighborhood, worked at a warehouse until December 2009. But the person Grisby carpooled with to work got laid off and, without a ride, Grisby was soon laid off as well.

Grisby had few prospects for employment until last May when she was hired by Chicago’s Westside Health Authority thanks to Put Illinois to Work – a government subsidized job program. Uncle Sam paid for Grisby to work a 40 hour-a-week front-desk job that paid $10 an hour. (more…)

Obama’s subtle job creation plan

In September, Congress passed and the president signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which created $12 billion in new loans for the Small Business Administration to dole out — money that will go to often-praised small businesses but will not necessarily produce jobs. (more…)

Death of direct job creation

One of the few government direct job creation programs will soon come to an end. In mid-January, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, will stop funding “Put Illinois to Work” — a temporary jobs program first paid for by the stimulus bill and now paid for by Illinois, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia. Since federal money stopped in September, Quinn has put $122 million toward a program where the state pays businesses to hire employees for entry-level positions that usually pay around $10 an hour. Quinn says that come January, he will focus on new legislation to give business the incentive to hire instead of piggybacking on an expired federal program.

Christine Radogno, the GOP leader in the Illinois Senate, has led the criticisms of Put Illinois to Work. (more…)

Will Illinoisans be put to work after September?

Pat Quinn

(Update: A House tax bill that included generating $11 billion in new revenue failed to pass Friday, dimming prospects that Congress will fund “Put Illinois to Work” and like state job creation programs beyond September.)

Illinois has the worst state budget in the nation, but it ranks no. 1 for something less dubious: participation in a national jobs creation program subsidized by $5 billion in stimulus money. The U.S. Congress may determine whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn  was smart to dive head first (more…)

Machine tool industry needs new public-private partnerships

Made in Germany

Government and industry need to team up to rebuild America’s machine-tool industry.  According to Justin Lahart in the Wall Street Journal, there is strong demand for expertly-machined parts here in America.  Backlogs and delays in obtaining special parts mean American manufacturers fall behind in orders and can’t compete as well globally.  We can and should fix this. (more…)

Opportunity Knocks

The U.S. Census Bureau Tries to Manage an Unprecedented Hiring Blitz

By Matthew Blake

Heading into March, the current unemployment rate hovers near double digits, with almost fifteen million  Americans jobless. These numbers will be a little less grim this spring – temporarily, at least – when the U.S. Census Bureau goes on a six-week hiring blitz.

The Commerce Department, of which the Census Bureau is part, is touting these job creation statistics: because of the Census, Commerce says, 800,000 jobs will be created, the unemployment rate will go down, and the economy will even grow. Here in Chicago, the possibility of earning $18.25 an hour to ask people how old they are has raised the spirits of some of the city’s unemployed and underemployed. “It’s not really taxing, it’s flexible and the pay is decent,” says Noah Lepawsky, 32, of Chicago, a recent applicant for a census-taker position. There are lingering concerns, though, about whether the Obama administration is up to the task of what Census Bureau Director Robert Groves calls “the largest non-military mobilization in the United States.” (more…)

Fighting Fire With A Payroll Tax Holiday

The Wall Street Journal’s Phil Izzo reports on a couple of disquieting recession-related statistics: First, a quarter of the 8.4 million jobs lost in the recession are never, ever coming back — these jobs have been permanently outsourced, automated or simply disappeared. Second, the U.S. labor market is expected to add only 133,000 jobs a month — that barely covers 100,000 monthly new entrants into the labor force. Which means the unemployment rate is projected to decrease to 9.4 percent by December — only .3 percent better then what it is now.

Faced with such sweeping and complex macroeconomic questions there is only one responsible thing for a political journalist to do: see if we can blame Barack Obama. Well, Obama can only address unemployment as much as the Senate wants him to. And the jobs bill unveiled by Harry Reid yesterday is a modest measure built around a payroll tax holiday for employers as well as other hiring incentives. Perhaps Obama should use his bully pulpit to argue for more direct job creation. But it seems that neither the president nor Senate has the appetite to do with the labor market what the Federal Reserve did with Wall Street: radical government intervention.

Living On Bread Alone

The New York Times’ Jason DeParle and Robert M. Gebeloff had a disquieting report this weekend that six million Americans — or 1 in 50 households — earn no income except for food stamps. This, in part, indicates as Understanding Government has looked at, that food stamps “work” as a federal social safety net program. But what about the other parts of the social safety net?

The main cash welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, has scarcely expanded during the recession; the rolls are still down about 75 percent from their 1990s peak. A different program, unemployment insurance, has rapidly grown, but still omits nearly half the unemployed. Food stamps, easier to get, have become the safety net of last resort.

DeParle and Gebeloff reported a month ago that food stamps have lost their stigma among the public, lawmakers and the White House. Improving the labor market is expected to be the next priority of the Obama administration and Congress. Maybe Obama and Congress could at least partly do for welfare what they’ve done for food stamps.

From Cuba To Illinois: Resettling Gitmo Inmates In An Illinois Prison Could Be An Economic Boon — But Does It Solve The Terrorist Detention Dilemma?

Thomson, Illinois

A day after Attorney General Eric Holder revealed his plan to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in federal court, the Chicago Tribune reported another change in the “war on terror” – the White House’s initiative to move some Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainees to a rural Illinois prison. The Justice Dept. and the Dept. of Defense would ship an unknown number of the more than 200 detainees still at the Cuban naval base to Thomson, Illinois, a village of 600 people, 90 miles west of Chicago. And Justice would convert the Thomson Correctional Center, which currently holds 200 minimum-security inmates, to a federal maximum-security prison.

Illinois Democrats were quick to champion the proposal as an economic stimulus for their state. Dick Durbin, the no. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, and Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn have declared that the prison could create more than 3,000 local jobs. A White House economic report largely echoed Durbin’s assertions. Illinois Republicans, meanwhile, went ballistic. Rep. Mark Kirk, who is running for the U.S. Senate, declared that Illinois would become “ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots, recruitment and radicalization.”

That al Qaeda could wreak havoc on rural Illinois is likely absurd. But that is not to say moving detainees to Thomson is a silver bullet for the local economy – or for national counterterrorism policy. “The relevant question is not where prisoners are held, but how,” says Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented Guantanamo detainees. “Will we reform our detention policies to comport with universal rights and the rule of law?” (more…)

It’s Hard to Buy Food If You Don’t Have a Job

The New York Times’ Jason DeParle reports that more households went hungry in 2008 than in any year since the Agriculture Dept. started measuring national hunger in 1995. In a roundabout tribute to the Reagan administration declaring that there are no hungry people in America, the Ag. Dept. tries to figure out how many families suffer from “food insecurity.” In 2008, they were 49 million families that were food insecure compared with 36 million in 2007.

The Obama administration is doing something about this: it has expanded the Ag. Dept’s food stamp program. However, the hunger rate rises and falls based on the job market and the Obama administration has resisted directly creating employment opportunities for Americans vulnerable to hunger. Maybe a more direct intervention into the job market is something the administration has planned after the epic debate on health care.