Weekly News from COBRT - February 19, 2019
February 19, 2019
The U.S. Treasury confirmed that the gross U.S. national debt topped $22 trillion for the first time in history last week, February 11, 2019. Figures published daily by the government show the gross debt at $22.013 trillion. 

The following is a statement from the Campaign to Fix the Debt Co-Chairs Judd Gregg and Edward Rendell: This milestone is another sad reminder of the inexcusable tab our nation's leaders continue to run up and will leave for the next generation. With deficits rising, and gross debt scheduled to increase by more than $1 trillion annually forever into the future, now is the time Congress must take action to put us on a more sustainable path. The fiscal recklessness over past years has been shocking, with few willing to step up with a real plan. We need responsible leadership to fix the debt, not a worsening of partnership. 

Last week the Colorado Business Roundtable was honored to partner and support the World Trade Center Denver roundtable with Governor Polis. 
Congressional negotiators announced an "agreement in principle" Monday night on a broad spending bill they hope will satisfy President Donald Trump's demands for additional border barriers and avert another government shutdown at the end of this week. The compromise represents a remarkable turnaround for negotiators tasked with staving off another shutdown, just hours after lawmakers on both sides said the talks were on the brink of falling apart. 

As the world has become more divided, company leaders need to take a stand on political issues, Hikmet Ersek, Western Union's president and CEO, told the crowd gathered at his company's headquarters Monday, February 11. In particular, Ersek said Western Union as a company has decided to advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees. "We don't like walls. We like bridges," Ersek said. "We connect people."

Aurora is Colorado's third largest city with a diverse population of more than 374,000. Over the last 10 years the city has received a large number of immigrants, coming from all over the world, increasing the percentage of foreign-born residents to almost 20%. In welcoming its immigrant population, the city created the Office of International and Immigrant Affairs and the Comprehensive Strategic Plan 2015-2018 regarding policy, programs, and initiatives geared toward the integration of local immigrants and refugees. OIIA gathered a lot of feedback from the city's immigrant and refugee populations for the plan to make sure that it met their needs. OIIA has recently evaluated how the plan was implemented and how the tactics and strategies in the plan have impacted the city and its immigrant and refugee populations. 

On a visit to the Princeton campus recently, I asked a famous economics professor a simple question, "Are we in a recovery?" He gave me a simple, emotionless answer, "No." I then asked him how many of the economists in the building would agree. He said, "Every one of them." I asked him why the media reports indicate that we are in a recovery. His exact words, "I don't know." I'm concerned there's a mistaken understanding of U.S. economic dynamism. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fox, MSNBC, all the networks -- the Federal Reserve, too -- all say the same thing: The job market is strong and the economy is growing. We're in a recovery. 

A modern infrastructure system is key to unleashing the full productive potential of the U.S. economy. This report examines the state of U.S. infrastructure, where we need to go, and the economic effects of taking action. Infrastructure undergirds a modern, competitive U.S. economy, and is a catalyst for the connections and creativity that will power the innovation and economy of the future. 

Denver was one of 20 semi-finalist cities for Amazon's second headquarters, touted to bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in economic impact. In November, Amazon said that Long Island City in Queens, New York, and the newly dubbed "National Landing" area in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Arlington County, Virginia, would split the second headquarters evenly between them. But today, Amazon.com Inc. announced that it is cancelling its plan to build a $3.6 billion headquarters in New York City after running into opposition from local leadership. 

Colorado nonprofits are significant contributors to the state and local communities, well beyond their core mission areas. Learn how nonprofits strengthen Colorado's economy and why they are vital to the success and well-being of the state. 

In a competitive job market, you have to prove your uniqueness, because a standout resume demands more than education and work experience. Volunteering can set you apart from your competitors, and research shows that volunteers are 27 percent more likely to find a job after being out of work compared to non-volunteers. Employers in the current economy are increasingly prioritizing soft skills such as problem-solving, the ability to work in a team, and solid communication, and by giving your time and talents to a well-known organization like Junior Achievement (JA), you prove your valuable personal attributes. 

Business Roundtable this week commended the Administration for announcing a new "American Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative," reaffirming the U.S. emphasis on research and development of strategic technologies. "Proactive investments in AI today will be the key to securing U.S. leadership in technology tomorrow," President & CEO Joshua Bolten saidin a release. "Strengthening investments in the U.S. workforce will ensure that our country is prepared for an economy that will be transformed by new technologies." In January, Business Roundtable released "Innovation Nation: An American Innovation Agenda for 2020," making policy recommendations to secure U.S. leadership in innovation.

"Co-bots" are collaborative robots engineered to work alongside and in concert with human workers. Like augmented reality and artificial intelligence, they are just one example of the stream of technological breakthroughs that are transforming the modern manufacturing shop floor - allowing manufacturing workers to accomplish tasks once thought impossible and to do so more safely than ever before. Yet, the emergence of such technology has led some to wrongly assume that jobs for manufacturing workers are in short supply. In reality, the opposite is true. Last year was the best year for manufacturing hiring growth nationally since 1997. In Colorado, manufacturers had roughly 47,500 job openings in 2018, especially in the beverage, computer and electronic products, food, machinery and transportation equipment sectors. 

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