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News that the U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than expected in the second quarter of 2010 should sound an alarm to Congress, says Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
Slater says “there is an urgent need for job creation in this country, and while there are no easy political fixes to jolt unemployment numbers or the GDP, this country’s leaders need to acknowledge the reality that national policies to keep manufacturing strong in this country are inadequate and have failed to create the certainty that manufacturers need to invest and hire.”
Slater notes that Congress needs to immediately pass a new transportation bill that addresses “urgently needed safety, rebuilding and modernization issues across the nation.
“Now is the time to build and repair America’s roads and bridges for the good of the country,” Slater continues in a written statement. “Infrastructure investment is a proven economic engine with staying power – not only does it drive growth, it creates lasting benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 30,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure. And a modernized infrastructure system will give America the competitive edge in the global economy while improving the lives of Americans for generations to come.”
He notes that stimulus money is nearing an end, state and local budgets continue to shrink, and with a slowing recovery, the prospects for a sustained rebound in sales and employment are weakening.
During the past 10 years, manufacturing in the U.S. has shed 5.5 million jobs, Slater says.
“Unemployment in the manufacturing sector remains higher than the national average.” Slater says. “There has been some recovery of lost jobs, but the rebound is much slower than it should be.
“Infrastructure investment is the most effective action we can take to change this picture,” he says. “We need a new national manufacturing policy that creates American jobs and rebuilds America’s infrastructure.”