The fundamental challenge in this recession is that the growth that preceded it was a mirage. Bubble era borrowing created a network of financial jobs, real estate jobs and construction jobs that collapsed with the end of the bubble. Many of those jobs will never return.
An extremely high proportion (75%) of job losses in this recession are permanent rather than temporary. States will need to nurture completely new industry sectors and the infrastructure to support those jobs, while the jobless will need retraining in new skills to participate in those sectors.
As we described last week in State Job Creation Strategies Part I: Finding the Money and Investing in Human Capital and Physical Infrastructure,
competing globally for jobs starts with policy makers instituting
fundamental investments in education, human capital and physical
infrastructure that make their state a productive environment for
economic innovation. The next step, as this Dispatch will describe, is helping the private sector leverage opportunities for job creation and technological innovation.
On Thursday, the official unemployment rate climbed to 8.1% nationwide as employers shed an additional 651,00 workers last month. Add in sharp rises in the number of involuntary part-time and long-time discouraged workers, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.8%. While long-term job growth is the goal of the recovery package, states need to, and some are already stepping up to, address the immediate needs of the unemployed. This Dispatch emphasizes key programs states can take advantage of to help their unemployed workers.
Finally,states need to foster cooperation between local jurisdictions to ensure mutualgains from growth, not play a zero-sum game of wasting development dollarsluring businesses to move a few miles. Good Jobs First in a series of reports, most recently on Minnesota and Michigan, hashighlighted how funds are wasted as development dollars from wealthier suburbsare directed towards raiding jobs from urban centers rather than creating newjobs.
As the country enters into a recession and suffers increasing job
losses, the Great Lakes Region is facing a particularly acute crisis.
Literally millions of decent-paying manufacturing jobs have disappeared
from the region in recent years. How regional political leaders are
responding to that crisis provides lessons for state policymakers
across the country.