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In a public address last week, President Barack Obama stated that "the private sector is doing fine." Doing fine? That might be news to the 3.3 million "missing workers" or the more than 20 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed.
It is particularly unbelievable in the context of a recent Federal Reserve report showing that the average American family lost nearly half of its net worth from 2007-2010. The president's comment has proved to be nothing more than a failed attempt to highlight what silver lining may be left in the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the U.S. economy.
The numbers tell the tale: There were only 69,000 jobs created last month, the fewest in a year. To put that in even broader context, private sector employment growth has fallen in each of the last four months. Further, May was the 40th consecutive month that the U.S. unemployment rate has persisted above a painful 8 percent.
On a more personal level, my home state of North Carolina claims the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 9.4 percent. The not-so-good good news is that this is down two full percentage points since January 2010, where unemployment stood at 11.4 percent. It is evident that both North Carolina and the United States have a long way to go before anyone can claim that our private economy is doing "fine." And while I'm a huge proponent of "finding the good in the bad," I think now is the time to find the solution to the problem—and "fine" is not a solution.
The solution to the jobs problem is small business, not more government.
American Institute for Growth has laid out a roadmap to sustainable economic recovery—and that path is paved with commonsense regulatory reform, certainty about future taxes, and the return of spending sanity to our federal government. In recent years, the federal government has unleashed a regulatory onslaught on small businesses in the private sector and has made it much harder for the engine of our economy to function as it should. Until policymakers and elected officials start to listen to the voice of the entrepreneur and small business owner, it's hard to see how job creation will come back.
A March Small Business Outlook Survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that concerns about over-regulation are the highest we've seen in the past year. Small business owners are hesitant to hire because of uncertainty created by the plethora of threatening regulations coming from and pending in Washington.
There is something to be said about the correlation between the unemployment rate and the increasing concern about regulations coming out of Washington. America needs the government to step down and let true job creators lead the way to recovery.
This article originally appeared in US News & World Report.