I’ve said it before, but I believe it is so true: we need to tune out the noise from the national news media and look at what is actually happening. The U.S. military is being rebuilt, and our communities are becoming safer. But, nowhere is the positive direction of our country more apparent than when it comes to the economy.
The American people are thriving under a strong economy that is providing promising opportunities for American families. Thanks to lower taxes, fewer regulations, a stronger focus on fair trade, and a less invasive federal government, the American economy is truly booming. Just consider some of the numbers.
The August jobs report found that 201,000 new jobs were created in the United States and the unemployment rate sits at a low 3.9 percent. At the same time, the report found that wages increased at the best rate since 2009.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is at the lowest point in almost 49-years. Surveys have found that consumer confidence has reached its highest level since October 2000. And, second quarter growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 4.2 percent, the best performance in nearly ten years.
The economic gains are also reaching populations that have generally lagged behind during other economic booms. For example, youth unemployment has hit the lowest level in 52-years. The unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics are also at or near record lows.
Here in Alabama, we are experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in our state’s history. New businesses continue to locate in our area, and Alabama workers are seeing more money in their pockets.
Right here in Southwest Alabama, our communities are experiencing economic growth, and the growth is not just confined to the larger cities.
For example, I recently visited Provalus in Brewton. This is a high-tech company bringing good-paying jobs to the people in Escambia County. I also stopped by Sterling Packaging in Monroeville recently. This company moved from Canada to Monroe County due to our great economic climate and a dedicated workforce. These are just two examples from rural Alabama where new businesses are opening and providing opportunities for Alabama families.
The economic gains show that our conservative, pro-growth policies are working, but there are other priorities we must address to ensure we continue to grow and create opportunities for Americans. Health care remains at the top of the list. We need to make sure our health care system works and is affordable for Americans. Here in Alabama, a top health care priority that directly impacts the economy is saving our rural hospitals. Without a hospital, communities won’t be able to attract new industry.
Also on the list is passing a new Farm Bill that supports our farmers. Agriculture remains the top industry in Alabama, so having a strong, fair Farm Bill is so very important. A big part of the Farm Bill this year is a focus on expanding rural broadband. This is vital to the economic success of rural America.
We know the government does not create jobs, but we can help promote job growth with the right policies. These are just a few tangible ways we can keep our foot on the gas and fully unleash our economic potential.
At the end of the day, we should not let some talking head on television tell us how terrible our country is today. Instead, simply look at the facts about the booming American economy.
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Bradley Byrne is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.