John's top priority is to rebuild our economy and invest in a strong economic foundation for our future that works for all Americans. After eight years of failed leadership under the Bush Administration, our country was at a crisis point. The Great Recession threw our economy into a tailspin -- losing 800,000 jobs a month at the end of 2008 -- while Bush-era policies made it harder for the middle class and those seeking to join it to achieve the American dream.
Since then, through the hard work of many in government and in the private sector our national and state economies have improved. Today, the unemployment rate sits at a three-year low and we have had over 25 months of consecutive private sector job growth. Although we have seen modest improvement, change has not happened fast enough. That is why we must reignite the American Dream -- so that any American who works hard and plays by the rules can make it. John is proud to have introduced President Obama's American Jobs Act and will continue to seek innovative ways to create jobs -- like the Connecticut Manufacturing Jobs Match.
John has always been a strong advocate for reinvesting in manufacturing, which must play a key role in our long-term economic strategy. Studies show that one manufacturing job supports four service sector jobs.
Manufacturing has been an important source of jobs in Connecticut for years. That's why our local manufacturing heroes are also some of our nation's greatest: Samuel Colt, Eli Whitney, Amos Pratt and Igor Sikorsky. Their legacy and Yankee ingenuity carries on today and defines our region. Over the last year John helped bring economic security to the First Congressional District by fighting for the Air Force refueling tanker to be American-made with Pratt and Whitney engines and to have Pratt be the sole-source engine provider to the Joint Strike Fighter. These two projects guarantee hundreds of billions of dollars of work for Connecticut over the next 30 years. Additionally, he helped acquire federal resources to incubate companies like Arcor Manufacturing at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technologies (CCAT). Arcor started with just five employees. After two years it grew to 15 and today has built its own facility and employs 30 people.
John also believes that this country also needs to think creatively about how jobs are created. That's why he collaborated with CCAT, and our state's labor and education departments to create the CT Manufacturing Job Match Initiative. This program provides a track for manufacturing-oriented job seekers so that they can interview, take a certification test or get the additional education necessary to support our manufacturing workforce in the future. Recent studies have identified between 1,500 and 2,000 manufacturing jobs that are presently unfilled here in Connecticut. Many small machine shops don't have the human resources capacity to acquire top talent. Basically, the Job Match Initiative aids small companies in providing them with a larger pool of skilled workers. This has helped get Connecticut residents back to work.