The economy appears to be humming based on the U.S. Department of Labor‘s better than expected May job numbers. The state has trailed the nation in job creation, and while New Jersey’s job figures won’t be posted until next week, April numbers showed that jobs grew for the tenth month in a row. Unemployment claims in the Garden State have dropped to a 15-year low and home building is 12 percent above where it was last year. Tax revenue in the state also has risen, but the state’s jobless rate has remained at 6.5 percent. Representative Donald Payne Jr., who recently launched his Jersey Jobs Tour, joined NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams to discuss the importance of small businesses and how his tour aims to help.
Payne says the goal of the Jersey Jobs Tour is to promote and encourage small business’ operation in today’s economy.
“The Jersey Jobs Tour is really an opportunity for me in my capacity on the Small Business Committee for the House of Representatives to go out and talk to job creators,” he said. “Small business has been the backbone of this nation since its existence. Three out of the four new jobs created are by small business, so I’ve been going out into the community and talking to these business owners to see how we can move that effort forward.”
Payne is looking at helping those small businesses with the Small Business Association and various other groups. He was recently out at his first stop on the tour — Jersey City — where he stopped at places like Jackson Hill Main Street Management Corporation and Rising Tide Capital.
“Jackson Hill Management is a grassroots group that is helping people in the community revitalize their community. Rising Capitol, which is a non-profit that is in Jersey City and now thankfully has moved into Newark and Orange, is helping people find the capital and move those business forward in order to hire more people.”
One of the greatest struggles small businesses face is competing with big box stores like Walmart and Target. Payne says it’s difficult, but as the backbone of our nation we need to continue to support small business efforts, especially at home.
“New Jersey has lagged behind the national average in job creation and disproportionately here in the 10th Congressional District we even lag behind in those numbers,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon me to continue to have these conversations, try to find new ways to be able to articulate the needs of the 10th Congressional District back in Washington so that’s what this tour is about. Talking to people, finding out what the issues are and being able to take that back to Washington and articulate for my constituents.”
Creating jobs is an issue candidates at all levels and parties vow to accomplish. While government can’t create jobs, Payne says the government’s role lies in creating a climate conducive to job creation.
“We need to have a more bipartisan effort on the ways we go about creating jobs. One party feels this way, one party feels that way. We need to come together and cooperate in order to move the country forward and we can do that as the federal government,” he said.
He says the key to opening doors to new small businesses are in access to capital and invigorating the community.
“The SBA has done a good job, but we have to look at businesses that are smaller than their definition of a small business. Small business to them is 200 employees and a certain amount of money,” Payne said. “We’re talking about mom and pops and retail businesses that spur the community on a daily basis so we have to find a way to engage them with the SBA as well.”