At a time when all eyes seem directed at Washington for job creation solutions, businesses and state governments have been quietly taking the lead. Instead of waiting for a one-size-fits-all federal solution, they’re working together to pursue a comprehensive strategy for job creation that focuses on putting aside our differences and working together to create jobs in America.
Our efforts start with bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. The U.S. has lost more than 50,000 manufacturing facilities in the last decade and a half. We invent products here, but send the production jobs to Asia. The cycle adds to our trade deficit and speeds the disintegration of manufacturing, which has been the backbone of the American economy since the industrial revolution. The decline of manufacturing has wide repercussions beyond finances; it affects our communities, our education system, our national security and our global standing. When we fail to make things, we’re losing more than jobs. We’re losing a piece of our American identity.
Some have given up on American industry, saying manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Business leaders beg to differ, evidenced by growing efforts at reshoring and a recommitment to the “Made in America” label. And Mississippi, among other states, is leading the way. Since 2004, an aggressive job-creation agenda has brought higher skilled, higher paying jobs to Mississippi. The result: Employment is higher now than it was before Hurricane Katrina and per capita income increased 34 percent over the last eight years.