Whenever there's an economic slowdown, the recovery that inevitably follows is usually slow in coming. The reason is that the financial problems that led to the slowdown build up over a number of years and so it takes a long time to unwind.
To give you an idea of how long it may take for the unemployment rate to recover, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the national unemployment rate is going to be higher than 7 percent in 2013, and will remain higher than 5 percent through 2021.
The good news is that Nebraska's unemployment rate is less than half the national average. That doesn't mean that there aren't still many families and businesses in Nebraska that feel the painful effects of the national recession but the impact is less severe here than it is elsewhere.
The best way to stimulate the economy and start bringing jobs back is to create economic certainty and predictability and one good place to start is through federal spending cuts. This will spur investment and create jobs.
The business sector is sitting on a ton of cash; they're simply not investing it. Once Washington provides certainty, businesses will begin to invest again.
Getting businesses to invest in new equipment, hire additional workers, and increase pay is how we will get our economy back on track, create jobs, and put people back to work.
Cutting spending and reducing the deficit will boost business and consumer confidence, which in turn will create jobs and spur economic growth. Nebraskans tell me they want Washington to get its fiscal house in order. They do not want more government spending and, certainly, oppose more taxes just so Washington can spend more.
I agree. Washington needs to get serious about cutting spending and bringing down the deficit.
We also need to create our own opportunities which Congress recently did by approving three trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.
These three agreements are good for Nebraska. They will create more than 1,100 jobs for Nebraskans in agriculture alone. That will pump more than $123 million each year into our economy. $123 million more income, each year.
Trade has always been big business for Nebraska which exported more than $5.7 billion in merchandise to overseas buyers in 2010, which supported nearly 20,000 jobs.
In Nebraska, a total of 1,317 companies exported goods from Nebraska to overseas markets in 2008. Of them, 1,084 companies had fewer than 500 employees.
I firmly believe that the creativity, dedication and intelligence of American workers and entrepreneurs will eventually restore us to a period of growth and full employment.