The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. That’s much stronger growth than in January, when employers hired a revised 119,000 workers.
The gains were broad-based as offices, restaurants, construction firms and hospitals all added jobs.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7%, as 12 million workers were counted as unemployed. The drop was partly because more people said they got jobs, but also because 130,000 people dropped out of the labor force.
Well, that’s good. All that’s needed now is to repeat that amount of job growth every month over the period of the next six years. Assuming that the job market is last in-first out, i.e. the first fired will be the last rehired, some of those people will have been unemployed for ten years by the time they’ve found new jobs. If they lost their jobs when they were 45, they’d be 55 when they went back to work and would have lost ten of what should have been their most productive years. Expect an increasing number of people to continue working well into their 70s.
In the interest of contributing to the project of job creation let me propose a few broad principles for promoting job growth:
1. Encourage the creation of “brown jobs”.
We need more jobs in mining, manufacturing, farming, lumber, and oil and gas production, not fewer. Those industries are dirty, hence “brown jobs”. Go ahead and regulate them but don’t try to regulate them out of existence. Solar power is a declining industry in the West not a growing one—both Siemens and BP have gotten out. They can’t beat the huge subsidies the Chinese government is pouring into their own “green jobs” companies.
2. Negotiate more bilateral free trade deals.
The freer, the better. Remember that you can write a free trade deal on the back of a napkin. When it runs into thousands of pages, it’s managed trade, not free trade.
3. Insist that China play by the rules it agreed to.
China has been violating foreign currency reserve limitations, intellectual property laws, and subsidizing its own industries in violation of international agreements to which it is party for more than a decade now. It has also failed to open its banking sector to foreign competition as it agreed to when it was admitted to the WTO. It is more than five years behind schedule in honoring those commitments. If China refuses to play by the rules it agreed to, throw it out of the WTO. Remove its “Most Favored Nation” trading status. And so on.
4. Keep the tax code simple.
Our tax code is long overdue for an overhaul. Our present byzantine tax code benefits companies that have the money to work the tax code at the expense of its competitors who don’t. The tax code is there to raise revenue, not modify behavior or function as a method of preventing upstart competition.
I could add to that list but that’s a start. Feel free to contribute you own ideas.