Jobs Report Shows Progress, But Austerity Continues to Impede the Recovery

Washington DC – The January jobs report of 243,000 new jobs and unemployment down to 8.3 percent — shows progress. Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, made the following statement about the new jobs report and its indications for the U.S. economy:

“We’ve now had 10 quarters of economic growth and five quarters of jobs growth. The report shows growth across the private economy, notably in manufacturing and construction.

“But don’t break out the bubbly. Any celebration should stay sober. The U.S. economy is still slogging slowly against fierce headwinds. We are still 6 million jobs short of where we were when the Great Recession began. There are still nearly 24 million people in need of full-time work. There are still more than four people lining up for every available job.

“Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke stated the simple reality: `We still have a long way to go before the labor market can be said to be operating normally. Particularly troubling is the unusually high level of long-term unemployment.’ Nearly one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for a year or more. These are the true casualties of Wall Street’s excesses.

“American companies are producing more now than they did before the collapse. But Americans aren’t sharing in the rewards. Profits margins are at record heights; CEO salaries have soared, but there is no recovery in jobs, and wages and benefits continue to fall behind.

“Austerity continues to impede the recovery. Government employment was flat last month, but state and local governments project more cuts. Austerity in Europe is driving the EU and the United Kingdom into recession. U.S. exports will suffer accordingly, even without a Greek default or a financial calamity. U.S. government spending will be constricted by the budget deals.”