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As the pace of economic change continues to accelerate, it is transforming the way we work and conduct business at a breathtaking pace. This change presents an extraordinary opportunity for growth and job creation. To seize it, however, we must prepare workers to compete and succeed in the new economy. This is why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the New Economy Working Group on February 22 to begin exploring the challenges and opportunities of a modern workforce.
A recent poll by the Chamber and Morning Consult highlighted the importance of this new initiative by revealing many common concerns Americans have about technological change. For example, 3 in 4 adults are worried that lawmakers don’t understand the complexities of the changing economic landscape, while 7 in 10 believe that U.S. workers are not equipped with the skills necessary to compete. The poll also confirmed that Americans generally view automation as a threat, with nearly half saying it will eliminate more jobs than it will create.
Addressing these concerns requires leaders to work together from across society—from government to business to education. The New Economy Working Group, launched by the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) in partnership with Expedia and Postmates, is in a unique position to make a difference by convening a variety of stakeholders, including legislators, regulators, and business leaders from every industry. For example, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta attended the kickoff event and shared his views on a range of topics related to the future of work.
The working group is focused on the sharing, gig, and on-demand economies. It will identify the skills and talent required to prepare American workers for 21st century jobs in exciting marketplaces, including companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Handy, where service providers can connect directly with customers through technology. The working group will advocate ways of modernizing the benefits structure to reflect the changing nature of work and better understand the attitudes of new economy workers.
Technological change remains a powerful opportunity for growth and job creation, but it’s increasingly important for the business community and policymakers to coordinate and cooperate on a response to evolving workforce needs. This is essential for broadly sharing the benefits of technological change and economic growth, especially in distressed communities where jobs have been lost and entire industries have dried up. The New Economy Working Group will play a critical role in developing policies that extend the promise of the 21st century economy to all Americans.