U.S. Chamber Chief Economist: Jobs Stagnated by Business Uncertainty

Sep 2, 2011

US Chamber's Marty Regalia expects 2% to 2.5% economic growth in the second half of the year.

A continued heavy dose of regulation and uncertainty played a big factor in zero net new jobs being created in August, according to U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Marty Regalia.

“The abysmally weak jobs numbers demonstrate just how desperate this economy is for real pro-growth policies,” he said. “This administration has provided an overabundance of job killing regulation and more uncertainty. It is clearly time for pro-growth policies that incentivize the private sector without ballooning the already swollen deficit and debt levels. There are policies available that meet these criteria, and it is time for the Administration to junk what has clearly not worked and try something that will.”

Regalia anticipates that the sluggish economy will grow by 2% to 2.5% in the second half of the year—not enough to get the country back to full employment.

“If you focus on creating jobs and not focus on creating growth, you’re not going to be successful,” Regalia said during the Chamber’s annual Labor Day briefing on August 31. “Companies hire people when they can put those people to work producing a product or a service that they can sell at a profit. And right now the economy isn’t presenting that opportunity.” Regalia estimated that the economy needs to grow between 4.5% and 5% for two to three years to regain the 13 million jobs lost during the economic downturn.

Randy Johnson, Chamber senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, echoed Regalia’s comments that businesses are holding back on hiring because of a rising mountain of burdensome regulations coming out of Washington. “It is distressing that this administration appears bent on issuing numerous regulations in the employment area that will do nothing to promote job growth, and, indeed, will impede job growth by imposing continued uncertainty and increased costs on employers,” Johnson said.

Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue also appeared at the news briefing to preview a Chamber jobs plan that contains specific, practical action that Congress and the administration can take to help quickly create new jobs. The plan will be sent to the president and Congress on September 5.

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