In a new PPI policy brief, Diana Carew and I have proposed that the government undertake a ‘Competitiveness Audit’:
In this global economy, we need to know which industries are internationally competitive, which ones aren’t, and whether the gaps are closing or widening. Unfortunately, the reality is this data currently does not exist. And what we don’t know hurts us, because it prevents us from pursuing effective strategies for boosting US jobs.
Although the government collects reams of economic data, it doesn’t measure what’s most vital to our ability to reverse America’s jobs decline: how our goods and services stack up against those of China and other competitors in terms of price.
You can’t fix what you can’t measure. We need a new national jobs strategy that begins with an accurate way of measuring America’s competitive prowess, on an industry-by-industry basis.
We suggest that at a relatively low cost, a Competitiveness Audit can be used as the basic of a carefully targeted job strategy on both the national and regional levels. If we know what industries are ‘near-competitive’, those are the ones where targeted government help can have the biggest bang for the buck.