Americans don’t need just any jobs. They need decent jobs that pay a living wage. No one should work forty or more hours a week and still be unable to provide for their family. We must respect our nation’s most valuable asset: the working men and women who keep our country running. They deserve the dignity of being able to earn an honest living.

Unfortunately, most new jobs being created today are low-wage and temporary. We don’t need more gig and temp jobs. People can’t even feed their families on these, let alone save for a home, education, and retirement.

According to the OECD, the poverty level of the United States is now below that of Mexico, with 17.8% of Americans now living at or below the poverty line.

What Americans need are jobs with decent pay and long-term prospects, but in order to get there, we must invest in our workforce. The fact is that the majority of Americans are being left behind in a world that is rapidly digitizing and automating.

Americans need to understand that the manufacturing jobs of the 1980s aren’t coming back. Today, over 80% of American jobs are in the service and information technology sectors, and that figure is growing.

We need to create the jobs of the future, not the past, and that means investing in innovation and growth. Only by developing the next generation of industries can we put Americans to work at higher pay.

Data shows that the countries which modernize first create far more jobs than those that lag behind. In other words, we need to be on the forefront of change if we are going to raise the standard of living for all Americans.

We must invest in our entrepreneurs, create policies that encourage innovation, focus on emerging technologies, and produce the best educated workforce in the world. This is the way to compete in the 21st century.

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Photo by Stephen Philpott on Unsplash