A recent poll conducted by the Gallup-Lumina Foundation found that while Americans may be politically polarized, they all agree that the United States needs to invest in the talent of its workforce. Talent is defined as "the knowledge or skills people develop or obtain through education, work or other life experiences."
In June I led a delegation of Indiana educators, business leaders, and philanthropists to Washington, D.C. to learn about College Promise, the Obama administration's non-partisan grassroots effort to build widespread support for a free community college education for responsible students throughout the nation.
Payrolls were up 280,000 last month in a better-than-expected jobs report, with employers adding jobs across almost all of the service industries and government. Positive revisions for April and May added another 32,000 to the payroll count. Analysts had been expecting around 225K jobs, so put May's initial print in the "upside surprise" column. The jobless rate ticked up slightly from 5.4 to 5.5 percent but for the right reason: more people joining the labor force. Average hourly wages were up 2.3 percent over the past year, a touch faster than in past months. All told, what I see in these numbers is a job market maybe, sorta, kinda starting to reach working people... six years into the recovery! So my message to the Fed: love it and leave it alone!
Robots have indeed eliminated a great deal of factory work and are rapidly moving on to product design, medical diagnostics, research, teaching, accounting, translating, copy editing, and a great deal more. Once-secure professions are no longer safe. From that, many economists conclude that we may just have to adjust to a high plateau of unemployment. That assumption is malarkey.
President Obama recently downplayed the impact of unfair trade on the U.S. workforce, arguing that many manufacturing jobs are low-paying. But I disagree. This nation's manufacturing base provides a pathway to prosperity for many Americans -- and this administration cannot shut the door on their future.