The Economy Is Stuck In First Gear

Robert Borosage

The November jobs report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics simply confirms what we know: the economy is growing slowly, and haltingly. New jobs are barely at the level of new workers coming into the workforce. Workers aren’t sharing in the rewards of growth, with stagnant incomes not keeping up with costs. Cuts in public employment – such as layoffs of teachers and janitors –remain a drag on the economy. Happily, the unemployment rate went down, but this is due more to workers giving up looking for jobs, than from workers finding jobs.

This fragile growth now faces fierce headwinds, with austerity in Europe and Great Britain driving those economies into recession. The financial crisis in Europe will impact zombie banks in the United States.

While it looks like that Congress finally may use small band aids to attempt to stop the economic bleeding like the payroll tax extension and extending unemployment benefits, they are not doing what is needed to push this economy back in to firing on all cylinders.

We need Congress and the Federal Reserve to act now to put people back to work. Use the opportunity posed by record low interest rates to rebuild our decrepit infrastructure. Provide young workers with jobs in urban corps and green corps and the non-profit sector. Provide aid to states and localities to avoid more devastating layoffs of teachers and cops.

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