Job growth under microscope this Labor Day

Keeping a roof overhead and putting food on the table. That's still difficult for many Alabamians on this 130th Labor Day. A just released report by Arise Citizens Policy Project warns Alabamians will continue to feel the effects of the great recession for years to come. Arise is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition that believes low-income people are suffering because of state policy decisions. Bottom line is that Alabama's unemployment rate stands at seven percent. Yet, the state saw 20,000 new jobs added in the last 12 months. So, what is the problem? What is the truth?Governor Robert Bentley sees it one way. He says the planning and structure that's in place will help Alabama continue to see growth.

Some of those in the local workforce, see it differently. They believe there's not enough being done to help the working middle class. "We have lost a great number of good paying, manufacturing jobs. That's a direct attack on the middle class," says{}David Clark, president of the United Steel Workers Local 1013. Clark believes Alabama is still feeling the effects of the great recession. But he sees is a silver lining.{} "We're seeing a slow but steady increase in the number of jobs. We hope to see this continue. We would like to look forward to a profitable and prosperous future for everyone." Today, hundreds of union workers gathered at Tannehill State Park, for an annual Labor Day rally. Representatives from several unions turned out, illustrating many industries in Alabama. For Clark, the plan to get Alabama working is simple.{} "We've got to increase our manufacturing base," says Clark. "We've got to build a strong manufacturing base, we've got to reclaim the good paying manufacturing jobs that we had in the past."Governor Robert Bentley defends what has happened on his watch. "Unemployment rate is down twenty percent from what it was when we took office."In an interview with ABC 33/40 late last week, Governor Bentley made it clear job creation remains his number one priority.{} "We have everything in place that I believe that over the next four or five years, we're going to reap the benefits."For the past two decades, manufacturing provided the most number of jobs in the state. However, Bentley says there's a shift in the type of manufacturing and industry now found in Alabama.{} "We now have 'high skill jobs.' We've brought jobs like Remington to Huntsville, or Airbus to Mobile. And so many companies like that in Alabama." The governor admits there's a long way to go to reach for employment. He points to some positive signs of growth.{} "We have 40,000 more people working today than when we took office. And we've got 60,000 new jobs that we've announced that haven't even come online yet."