Feuding Feds Are Still Stifling Export Job Growth

Clinton Administration economists have been disappointed with job creation thus far. It's not the number--the 1.2 million jobs created this year are in line with Clinton's campaign promise to raise employment by 8 million during his term. It's the quality of the jobs: Too many are part-time and poorly paid.

One way to create better, higher-paying jobs is to encourage the export sector, where jobs pay wages 22% higher than the overall average. But exporters aren't getting the right kind of help from the Administration, according to a draft study by the private Council on Competitiveness, which looked at national-security controls on high-tech exports. While computer makers had high praise for Clinton's recent easing of export controls on $30 billion worth of U.S.-made computers, the council found that it was still much too hard to get export licenses. Even worse, the study found that the hard-line Pentagon and the export-oriented Commerce Dept. were battling more fiercely than ever over granting permission for exports, with the relatively neutral State Dept. playing less of a mediating role. According to Richard C. Barth, who directed the study, the council will call for a new decision-making body, drawn from the staffs of the three agencies, that will settle on a single overall policy.

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