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Business Journal
Question for Candidates: Who Creates Good Jobs?
Business Journal

Question for Candidates: Who Creates Good Jobs?

Chairman and CEO of Gallup

Story Highlights

  • 65% of new jobs are created by small businesses
  • Jobs follow new customers, not the other way around
  • A big hurdle is complying with government regulations

This election season, let's hope the U.S. presidential candidates will turn their talk from immigration, ISIS, abortion and email servers to creating good jobs, rebuilding the middle class and booming a stalled economy.

Here's the question candidates should be asked: In your opinion, who creates good jobs for the middle class?

It's not hard to find the answer. According to the Small Business Administration, 65% of all new good jobs are created by small businesses.

Here's a little secret within the world of free enterprise. When the leaders of America's 6 million companies -- small, medium-sized and large -- get up every morning, not one of them is thinking about how they can create jobs. That may be the prize for politicians, but it isn't for business leaders. What every single business leader is thinking about is how they can create and keep customers. Nobody currently in Washington, D.C., nor in most state or local governments, knows this little secret.

There will not be quality GDP growth nor full-time job creation until America's 6 million businesses create new customers here and overseas. There is no other way out. Jobs follow new customers, not the other way around.

So what's holding back 6 million small-, medium- and big-company leaders from creating more customers? What's the biggest problem they face?

When Gallup posed this question to small-business owners, they didn't say "access to finance" was a major barrier -- they said complying with government regulations was a major barrier. So, one can argue that a really fast way to get 6 million businesses sticking their necks out to create customers is to act on this extremely important finding. If they want to help, Washington must stop creating new regulations. Stop sending out "new rules." The more they lead with new rules and regulations, the worse they make things.

This doesn't mean we don't need some regulations. But Washington shouldn't impose those regulations until customers -- and jobs -- start rushing back, and small businesses start growing.

The right answer for candidates to respond with: Small businesses create good jobs for the middle class.


Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO of Gallup. He is the author of The Coming Jobs War.

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