The recent surge in natural gas production, and accompanying lower prices, is substantially improving the international competitiveness of industries like petrochemicals, fertilizers, plastics and primary metals -- as well as consuming industries like industrial machinery and building materials. However, the Department of Energy is considering proposals to boost exports of liquefied gas, which would create many fewer jobs than keeping the gas at home.
Dodd-Frank regulations continue to make lending by regional banks to small businesses difficult. Many smaller banks have sold out or are considering consolidation with money center banks, which are less inclined to small business lending.
More onerous regulatory reviews are an increasing complaint among businesses. Government needs to subject policies to protect the environment and other goals to the same efficacy standards the market applies to commercial technologies --regulatory assessments and enforcement are needed, but those must be delivered cost-effectively and quickly to add value.
Many businesses look to Asia, where government policies are more accommodating and prospects for growth remain stronger.
A better jobs market is simply not possible without better trade, energy and regulatory policies.