Washington, DC — Today’s job report may only add to the fears that are roiling stock markets across the world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports tepid jobs growth in July, with 117,000 jobs. This is slightly better than the dismal record of the last few months, but it is not enough to help the 25 million Americans who are in need of full-time work. And the economy is not producing enough jobs to employ new workers coming into the workforce, much less the unemployed and underemployed already searching for jobs.
Statement from Campaign for America’s Future’s co-director Robert Borosage:
“This tepid jobs report and the growing fears about the global economy make it clear that Washington has been fixated on the wrong question. A smaller percentage of our population is employed today than when the recovery officially began. We need serious initiatives to generate jobs and put people to work.
“Once more in July, government employment declined, the result of budget cutting at all levels, and subtracted from already inadequate private sector growth. While Washington was fixated on a debate about how deep to cut spending, pink slips were going out to teachers, firefighters and cops. The cuts forced in the debt ceiling debacle will only make that worse.
“There are no cheap or easy solutions to get people back to work. Consumers are still paying down debts. Companies are sitting on cash waiting for customers. Markets for our products abroad are declining. Interest rates are already near zero, as investors flee to the US Treasuries.
“The federal government must act in this situation – and that will require reversing the premature focus on deficit reduction. We need a bold agenda to put people back to work, while building a new foundation for long term growth including:
• A major effort to rebuild America. With our decrepit infrastructure an increasing threat to our economy and to human lives, interest rates at record lows and the construction industry flat on its back, there will never be a better time to build the infrastructure for the 21st century. National and regional infrastructure banks can mobilize the capital and insure that the projects are chosen on merit.
• Generate green energy jobs. Clean energy is central to the green industrial revolution that is sweeping the world. We should be investing now in wind, solar, geo-thermal, seeding research, retrofitting public and private buildings. This will put people to work now, while making America once more an industrial leader.
• Make it in America. The unsustainable trade deficits cannot continue. We should instill buy America provision in all government procurement, while challenging the mercantilist trade policies of China and other nations.
• Put young people to work. Expand Americorps, create an Urban Corps to retrofit buildings, a Green Corps to repair parks and plant trees, a Service Corps to create jobs in non-profit organizations. We cannot allow a generation to come out of high school or back from Afghanistan and Iraq and fall into despair.
• Save vital public services. It is folly to lay off teachers, police and other vital services in this downturn. Direct support for vital services will save jobs – and keep our communities strong.
“Our politicians and policymakers need to worry less about their Wall Street and big business contributors and worry more about Americans who want jobs and cannot get them. The best solution to the deficit remains getting Americans back to work. Washington will spend trillions of dollars over the next decade. Accelerating some of that to put people to work now is simply common sense.”