Press Release, San Francisco, CA—In today’s economy, the prevalence of “good jobs” is diminishing. On paper, the standard unemployment rate is hovering at all-time lows and America is in one of the longest sustained periods of job growth that we’ve seen. That’s on paper. Most jobs created since the turn of the century have been low wage, temporary (think “gig”), or precarious, and continue the patterns that sustain growing wealth inequality.
The Surdna Foundation and Pacific Community Ventures announce Public Policy and Investments in Quality Jobs—a new report on common-sense changes to existing federal policies and programs that Congress can adjust or expand to create more economic opportunity and more middle-class jobs in communities that have been left behind by globalization, automation, or generations of discrimination.
Our jobs problem – driven largely by globalization and technological advances that reduce the need for human labor—is too large and complex for individual businesses and investors to confront on their own. While businesses are the sources of job creation, government programs can incentivize investment that leads to job growth and the creation of higher quality jobs.
"More and more companies are recognizing that high-road workplace practices generate positive outcomes for workers and businesses. Jobs that provide good benefits, such as paid sick time, retirement and family leave, reduce employee turnover and create higher employee productivity and satisfaction,” says Richard Eidlin, Co-Founder & Vice President of Public Policy of the American Sustainable Business Council. “However, public policies are also an essential complement to increasing the quality of jobs.”
“The lack of quality employment opportunities in America, particularly for low-income people, communities of color, immigrants, and women, is a driver of widening inequality in our country. The scale and complexity of this problem require that multiple approaches be taken to improve the availability and quality of American jobs, which will necessitate close coordination across the public, private, and social sectors,” says Shawn Escoffery, Program Director for Strong Local Economies at the Surdna Foundation. “At the Surdna Foundation, we recognize that part of the solution is public policy, which is an important lever to encourage and support the growth of businesses that create quality jobs and strengthen their local economies. Public Policy and Investments in Quality Jobs offers ideas for policy change at the federal level that can also be instructive for policymakers working at the state and local level. We are pleased to support this research from PCV and hope policymakers across the country will find this report helpful in improving jobs for American workers.”
The report comes on the heels of Moving Beyond Job Creation, a report published last year which defines the attributes of a quality job and offers practical steps for measuring quality job creation. Both efforts are part of Pacific Community Ventures’ and Surdna’s larger objective — to incentivize investors and markets to create jobs that are good for workers, good for businesses, and good for communities.
Congress can incentivize millions of better-quality jobs with living wages, benefits, and fair workplaces, by modifying five existing bipartisan policies:
- New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC)
- Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs
- Federal Government Procurement
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Disclosure
“These are common-sense ways, that are already on our books, that Washington can unleash business to create good jobs in underserved communities,” says Mary Jo Cook, President & CEO of Pacific Community ventures. “Our report doubles-down on what’s working and lays out five market-based solutions to create good jobs and grow local economies.”
Richard Eidlin continues, “We applaud the report’s recommendations and encourage policymakers at the federal, state and local levels, to read it and implement its findings."
Creating good jobs for working people in every community across America is one goal everyone can agree on. Doing so by making bipartisan government programs that are already working do even more for us — without adding to the federal budget — is a recipe for success that all elected representatives can champion. By making common-sense changes to federal policies and programs that are already on the books, we can create incentives for better quality jobs for tens of millions of Americans in a way that helps small businesses and working people thrive and brings the American dream to underserved communities.
Read the report here.