Last week's federal jobs report indicated the worst economic growth since June adding only 88,000 jobs -- just one-third of the gain in February. In Maine, however, there is good news related to job growth. New figures released by the Maine Department of Labor show that Maine's economy has shown private sector job growth in the last three years, resulting in a net increase of about 6,000 jobs.
"These jobs numbers show both a decline in our unemployment rate in 2012 and an increase in private sector jobs," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "This is good news for Maine's economy. However, we have a long way yet to go to make Maine truly "Open for Business.'" The data is available on the website of the Center for Workforce Research and Information at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/revisions.html
This week, Governor LePage attended the Job Creators Alliance Free Enterprise Leadership Summit on April 11 and 12 focusing on the importance and values of the free enterprise system and learning more about current and pending policies that will affect business leaders' ability to run their businesses and to grow jobs.
"We still have to create several thousand jobs in Maine to get back to where we were before the recession," said the Governor. "Maine must become more business friendly. This means that legislators need to be supportive of reducing the cost of energy, and creating a better-educated workforce to help attract more businesses to Maine and encourage existing businesses to grow. Growth equals jobs and we need policies in place that support this approach."
The Job Creators Alliance (JCA) is an organization recently created by the founder of Home Depot Bernie Marcus. In a survey conducted by JCA, small business owners sounded out their displeasure with the federal government. According to the survey, respondents think that Washington is becoming increasingly negative towards free enterprise and job creation. Policies were highlighted as having the greatest negative effect on small business across America. In Maine there are more than 40,000 small businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of Mainers.
"Free enterprise is not a dirty word. Our great Nation was built upon the idea that everyone has an opportunity to succeed and that anyone can earn success," said Governor LePage. "Our small businesses are economic drivers and we must avoid penalizing them with burdensome taxation and regulations. If our job creators do not have opportunities to succeed our people lose opportunities to succeed, as well."
Featuring business executives, expert panelists and national opinion leaders, the Job Creators Alliance Free Enterprise Leadership Summit, tackled the challenges that small and large business leaders and job creators face in today's economic climate.Governor LePage shared his his personal stories of struggle and triumph raised as a poverty-stricken Franco-American in Lewiston rising to a successful businessman and Governor. "I am a product of the American Dream," he said.
"Our government is the greatest threat to the American economic system of boundless opportunity, free initiative, and fair competition," said Mary Lampe, CEO of the Job Creators Alliance. "Too many are unemployed, and for far too long. Americans are desperate for new jobs, and we have the ability to get people back to work if there are fair policies and business-friendly approaches in place."
The Job Creators Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving America's economy through educating the public and policymakers about how to create jobs.