What the American Jobs Act Means for You

The American Jobs Act aims to prevent many teachers, firefighters, and police from being laid off.

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Lindsay Olson
In an effort to stimulate the economy and lower the unemployment rate, President Obama has announced a new jobs plan that aims to create more jobs and reward companies who continue to hire staff. While we won’t see a flood of new jobs overnight, if passed by Congress, it should keep our heads above water as we wait out this economic uncertainty.

Part of Obama’s goal is to prevent as many as 280,000 teachers from being laid off. In states like California, education is the first area to be cut, and teachers and educational administrators are usually the ones to suffer. The American Jobs Act will also put measures into place to keep police and firefighters working.

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There are also plans to invest in infrastructure to not only improve our transportation system, but also provide thousands of new jobs. Obama wants to modernize 75 percent of government buildings, which will bring more jobs as well. Many liken the president’s efforts to those of President Roosevelt, whose public works projects created thousands of jobs by building parks, roads, and buildings. His efforts employed 3.3 million people during the Great Depression.

What This Means for You

If you’ve been unemployed for a long period, there’s good news for you. The American Jobs Act aims to reduce unemployment and help individuals get back to work. It provides a work-sharing option, which provides incentives to employers who offer options for employees to share a job rather than be laid off.

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Employers also get incentives for hiring veterans and wounded warriors, many of which are struggling to find work. The unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military at any time since September 2001 was 11.5 percent in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Its “Bridge to Work” program will assist the unemployed in finding temporary or voluntary work, or give them on-the-job training to improve their skills so that they become more attractive to employers.

Look for a Tax Break Next Year

Part of the Jobs Act includes cutting payroll taxes by 50 percent for 160 million workers in 2012. The average family will get a $1,500 tax cut.

In Summary

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The Obama administration is striving to create jobs and reduce the unemployment rate. If you’re unemployed, keep an eye out for more companies hiring, since they get tax cuts for hiring the unemployed.

Look for local announcements of companies in your area who plan to act on one or more of the incentives the Job Act is offering. It’s good news for them if they hire a vet or someone who’s been unemployed a while, as they get tax incentives and payroll tax holidays if they meet the requirements outlined in the plan. As more jobs are created in your town, the economy will start sluggishly moving again. At least that’s Obama’s plan.

Keep your resume up to date, and register with one or more employment agencies in your area. Look beyond just what you’ve done in the past. Apply for jobs in other industries, or even other types of work that fit your skillset. Don’t overlook the government as a great source of employment. It has its own initiative to increase its number of workers in the next few years. And if you’re willing to relocate, you may open up more job possibilities by expanding you geographical reach.

Do your part to make yourself more hireable.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.