President Trump’s historic tax cuts and smart deregulation efforts are already showing results through faster economic growth and the lowest unemployment rate in years. In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1953, while the rates for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians reached the lowest levels on record. The booming labor market also is a call to action to ensure that the millions of American who want a job today and those entering the labor force tomorrow are prepared to fill to the new jobs that our businesses are creating.
Labor shortages are no longer on the horizon. They are a daily reality for large and small American businesses across the country and across industry. According to NFIB, in January 2019 nearly half of our nation’s small businesses (and nearly 9 in 10 of those trying to hire) found few or no qualified applicants to fill their openings. Business executives across the economy are reporting difficulty filling positions across skill levels, but especially in specialized trade and occupations. Each day that these jobs go unfilled, our economic expansion is checked unnecessarily. Each day that job-seeking American workers are unable to fill these jobs, their lives are held back.
The Department of Commerce is co-leading the Trump Administration’s movement to support American workers, including the co-chairing the new National Council for the American Worker and managing the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. More than perhaps any major policy issue facing our Nation, the skills shortage depends on deep partnership to succeed. As the voice of business in the Federal government, the Department of Commerce is an essential partner with the White House, Departments of Labor and Education, and Small Business Administration in the movement to invest in our workers’ and our future. Many of the Department of Commerce’s bureau already are contributing. We have brought together business and education to create new training paths in industries as diverse as cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. We are investing in American communities as they build their training infrastructure. We provide the most authoritative local data on the diverse U.S. workforce. We demonstrate how to apply the best practices in work-based learning for a truly singular workforce: Patent Examiners.