February 18, 2019

The U.S. Faces A 7.3 Million Jobs Gap – Can Washington Help Fill It?

The U.S. government announced last week that there are more than 7.3 million jobs open in the United States. We know that the U.S. manufacturing sector – and industries it depends on like trucking – face worker shortages. That need comes at a time where the White House and Capitol Hill are at odds on U.S. immigration policy. The fiscal year 2019 spending bill passed and signed last week includes additional funding for border security, but did not address immigration more broadly.

With growing labor needs in mind, last week the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) offered an outline for a bipartisan immigration bill that would:

  • Strengthen border security using walls, fences, barriers, personnel, technology, and other measures;
  • Reform the legal immigration system to prioritize America’s workforce needs;
  • Align nonimmigrant visas and temporary worker programs with employer needs;
  • Provide a permanent and compassionate solution for populations facing uncertainty;
  • Improve asylum and refugee programs for a more orderly and humane system; and
  • Provide a firm reset for the undocumented population, requiring an orderly process of review, including financial penalties for those who seek to become legal and deportation for those who choose to stay in the shadows.

Click here to read the full plan.

In related news: the White House announced last week that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ivanka Trump will co-chair a new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board that will work with the National Council for the American Worker established last July by an executive order. The board will be made up of the leaders of major corporations and trade associations and will help the council develop a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend ways to improve labor market data, increase private sector investments in job learning, and better identify companies’ needs in hiring.