New Data from the White House is Good News for Democracy
Last month set a new record high for construction jobs dating back to 1939. President Biden is using investments in the U.S. to make a positive case for democracy and fight off encroaching autocracy.
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New numbers we got in a call with the White House: Last month set a new record high for construction jobs dating back to the beginning of collecting the data in 1939.
Why it matters:
This matters because it reinforces the (always improving, hopefully) democratic principles upon which this country was founded. It helps stave off autocracy when people see a leader looking out for their interests, as opposed to an authoritarian style leader who only looks out after their own wealth and well-being.
“If democracies are to prevail, their leaders must do more than spotlight the autocrats’ shortcomings. They need to make a stronger, positive case for democratic rule,” Kenneth Roth wrote in 2022.
That is exactly what President Biden is doing: He is making the positive case for democracy. He is showing that democracy can work with the right kind of leaders.
The economy has added 670,000 jobs in construction since President Biden took office in January of 2021. That’s an average of 20,000 jobs a month, which is just slightly faster than pre-pandemic according to White House officials. But construction jobs have not only exceeded the high from before the 2008 Great Recession for the first time, but last month set a new high going back to 1939 — which is when the government started collecting the data.
What they said:
“That means the employment in the construction sector has exceeded the pre-Great Recession high for the first time ever, and in October 2023 has set a new record high going back to when the data started in 1939,” Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said in a call with reporters in which we took part.
“Job gains in the construction industry particularly benefit American workers, because these jobs tend to be relatively high pay,” Landrieu explained.
“And this administration has taken steps to improve the quality further, like requiring the use of project labor agreements for large scale Federal construction projects and updating the Davis Bacon prevailing wage rule for the first time in nearly 40 years, raising pay for more than 1 million construction workers overtime.”
A lot of this investment into the country is going to places that have been historically left behind.
“Bridges are being repaired, roads are being paved. Airports are being improved. These investments are boosting our country's economic strength and resilience for the long haul,” Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said on the call. “And they're also broadening economic opportunity for people in places that have historically been left behind.”
The Dept of the Treasury will publish an analysis on Wednesday about how the BIL “has strengthened long-term productive capacity in the U.S. while creating a fairer future for Americans in economically disadvantaged communities.”
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