Throughout the last two years, considerable economic progress has occurred within the United States. Since March 2010 alone, 4.4 million private sector jobs have been generated, while the national unemployment rate has fallen markedly, from 9.7 to 8.2 percent. And, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created, the largest 29-month period of job growth since the mid-1990s.
“We can’t be satisfied [though],” said President Barack Obama, after the release of June’s “The Employment Situation” report. “Too many of our friends and family members and neighbors are still out of work.”
After all, 12.7 million Americans are presently unemployed – and the federal extension for unemployment benefits is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012.
So, how will President Obama and his administration react? Will any freshly passed bills help unemployed Americans find and retain work?
For starters, President Obama’s long-awaited Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28th. The Act will offer a 35 percent tax credit to nationwide small businesses that currently provide health insurance coverage to their employees. The tax credit, which will increase to 50 percent by 2014, will help small business owners counterbalance their employees’ insurance costs, which will ultimately provide them with more financial security to develop their businesses and hire more full-time workers.
By assisting small businesses, Obama’s administration also hopes Americans will feel more at ease by the prospect of creating their own companies.
“The law will help spur entrepreneurial activity by increasing the incentives for talented Americans to launch their own companies,” said Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director, the National Economic Council. “[It] will help end the phenomenon of ‘job lock,’ in which workers are reluctant to leave a job with health insurance out of fear they will not be able to find affordable coverage when they strike out on their own.”
Meanwhile, on July 6th, President Obama signed a bill which will provide $100 billion in funding for bridge, road, and mass transit construction projects. The bill is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the near future.
“This is so good for America,” said Ray LaHood, United States Secretary of Transportation. “It’s incredible how many people will go to work as a result of this.”
As November’s Election Day nears, two questions remain unanswered. Will the Administration develop any other jobs bills in the next four months? And, if so, will these bills alleviate America’s current unemployment situation, sooner rather than later?