Cisco CEO Chambers lauds North Carolina for focus on jobs growth

“North Carolina is a great example where they’re focused on job creation and making changes”

The federal government should take a lesson from North Carolina. That’s the gist of some comments thatCisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers made to FOX Business on Thursday.

“I think the governors get it,” he says. “”I think that’s why our next president will probably be from the governor ranks on that if a Republican gets elected. And you are seeing them invest in our future.”

He points to North Carolina as a good example. “North Carolina is a great example where they’re focused on job creation and making changes,” he says.

But Chambers is less than impressed with February’s national job numbers that came out today (March 8, 2014). While many pundits are hailing the addition of a better-than-expected 175,000 jobs, Chambers says we should be doing better.

“I think our economy candidly should be growing faster than it currently is,” he tells FOX Business Network. “We should be creating more jobs, more than 250,000 a month to really get back on our feet and get unemployment numbers down over a long period of time.”

But there’s good news, he says, pointing to his own company’s growth as a sign that things may be looking up for the larger economy.

“Our business has been steadily increasing over the last year and a half in what we call our enterprise accounts, large businesses and medium businesses,” he says. “Both of them went into double digits this last quarter, in terms of year-over-year growth. That’s usually a good indication of economic growth later, and it’s usually a good indication of capital spending from business. Jobs will usually follow that. So I think the U.S. is slowly coming out of this.”

As to why the U.S. isn’t doing better? Chambers points to tax policy – an issue he’s been outspoken about before. “Every other major exporting country in the world brings back their foreign earnings at 0 to 2 percent,” he says. “Our country charges 35 percent, so companies cannot bring back their foreign earnings. If the government would change the tax policy to allow us to bring back those foreign earnings we have overseas in our cash, I’d bring it all back and invest in America – in jobs, in acquisitions, commitments to our shareholders, etc. And it’s something that’s got to change.”

Earlier this month, Chambers announced that he had selected Toronto for a $100 million facility investment – not the United States. He has repeatedly said it’s easier to do business in countries such as Canada than the United States.

Cisco employs more than 4,000 people at its campus in Research Triangle Park.

Lauren Ohnesorge covers technology, biotechnology and Durham County for the Triangle Business Journal.