Unemployment Remains a Problem
National unemployment numbers released on Friday were disappointing. 131 million Americans don’t have a job.
That represents 9 1/2% of the population, and doesn’t bode well for strong economic recovery. In Virginia, the jobless rate is declining, slowly.
Bolling: When we took office in January, we had an unemployment rate that was about 7.6% and that unemployment rate is now 7%.
Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, charged by Governor Bob McDonnell with tackling job creation head-on.
Bolling: We were facing, in the 2010 fiscal year, a budget shortfall of 1.8 billion dollars, and we ended the 2010 fiscal year with actually, a budget surplus of about 220 million dollars.
Economic development, Bolling said, is the obvious way to create jobs.
Bolling: We've closed about 132 economic development deals, which will eventually create about 8000 new jobs in Virginia and over 1.3 billion dollars in capital investment, so I think all of those statistics and results point to the fact that we're on the right track. I think we're making good decisions, smart choices in Virginia, but we have a lot of work left to do and a long way to go to get the economy back to where we want it to be.
Will there be a “double-dip” recession? Right now, the Lt. Governor said, the economy is at a tipping point.
Bolling: And, to be honest, it could go either way. I'm confident that we're making smart choices in Virginia, but in large part, I think what happens to the economy in the next six months to a year depends on choices that are made in Washington, D.C.
Bolling said he wishes that he could be more confident in what those choices are going to be.
Bolling: Unfortunately, a lot of the choices being debated in Washington over the last eighteen months have not been pro-business, they've been anti-business proposals.
His job creation efforts in the Commonwealth have necessarily included a lot of meetings with the people who run companies that will be the ones to do the hiring.
Bolling: And the one thing that they all tell me they're most concerned about is whether Washington will pursue policies that help spur and continue the economic recovery or whether Washington actually pursues policies that will kill jobs and drive the economy deeper into recession.
That, he says, remains to be seen.
Bolling: I think the jury's still out on that; clearly, the November elections are going to have a lot to do with that, and I think a lot of business owners who are setting on capital that they want to invest, looking at jobs that they want to create, I think they're waiting to see what happens in the November elections to see what type of stability and balance might be restored in Washington, and what type of policies we might see coming out of Washington over the next couple of years, so right now I think it's possible that the economy can continue to grow and go on to a greater recovery; I think it's also possible that the economy could slip back into a double-dip recession.
His message to people who don’t have a job, Bolling said, is:
Bolling: Help is on the way. I think we're trying to do the right things to get our economy moving again and create jobs, and I'm optomistic that those efforts can be successful, but we're digging out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, the worst recession in 60 years.
That place, the Lt. Governor said, is where everyone in Virginia who wants a job, has one. It's important to realize, he added, that it took a while to dig the deep economic hole that we’re in, and its going to take a while to dig out.
John Ogle, WCVE News