Worse Than Expected Jobs Report Calls For “Bold and Immediate Action”

The March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls for “bold and immediate action” to put people to work and address the needs of the long-term unemployed, Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage said Friday.

The report showed lower-than-expected jobs growth of 192,000 in March, which Borosage noted means that “there are still fewer jobs now than there were in December 2007 before the Great Recession.”

Borosage called for “extended support for the long-term unemployed” and “bold steps to put people to work on work that needs to be done: service corps for the young, a big infrastructure program to rebuild and modernize the country, aid to states to rehire teachers, steps to make child care affordable and extend preschool to all.”

Borosage’s full statement is below. His post also appears on the Campaign for America’s Future’s website, OurFuture.org.

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The March jobs report – 192,000 jobs with the unemployment rate remaining at 6.7 percent – is simply more of the same: an economy growing too slowly to make a major dent in continued mass unemployment.

This is the 49th straight month of private jobs creation, as the White House will report. The unemployment rate has fallen from its 2009 height of 10 percent.

But there are still fewer jobs now than there were in December 2007 before the Great Recession, even as the population has grown. The employment-to-population ratio remained unchanged this month at 58.9 percent, far below pre-recession levels. Long-term unemployment, at 3.7 million, changed little, and remains at historically elevated heights. Jobs growth continues to be concentrated in lower-wage jobs – temporary help services, service in restaurants and bars.

Mass unemployment produces human tragedy, increases in suicides, cancers, divorces and depression. It translates into stagnant wages. The optimism of the young is crushed. Homes are lost. Families divided. This is also a tragedy for the nation, as its potential for growth is eroded. We spend money on misery rather than investing in promise.

Inside the Beltway, the tendency is to see this tragedy as the new normal. The Federal Reserve is “tapering” off its extraordinary purchases of securities, although Fed chair Janet Yellen continues to raise alarms about employment. The Congress remains committed to austerity budgets, costing jobs rather than stimulating them. Federal government employment dropped, and is down 85,000 jobs over the course of the year.

We need bold and immediate action. Extended support for the long-term unemployed should be immediately reinstated. The Congress should turn from austerity to bold steps to put people to work on work that needs to be done: service corps for the young, a big infrastructure program to rebuild and modernize the country, aid to states to rehire teachers, steps to make child care affordable and extend preschool to all.

Ironically, those concerned that America is too far in debt should be arguing for, not against, bold action now. Austerity in these conditions only slows growth, making deficit reduction more difficult. The Congressional Budget Office has just added about $1 trillion to its projected deficits because it has lowered its estimates of America’s growth potential. The most sophisticated economic analysis concludes that increasing government spending now will help generate the growth that actually reduces deficits and debt in the long term.

Trade Policy Needs A “Root-To-Branch” Reassessment

Campaign for America’s Future Calls For A National Commission To Forge A New Globalization Strategy

Washington – Campaign for America’s Future Co-Director Robert Borosage today called on the Obama administration to abandon the “outmoded and failed mold” it is using to negotiate a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and instead create a commission that would forge the path for new trade policies suited for the 21st century.

“Rather than trying desperately to sell another round of treaties with dubious promises, evanescent benefits, and exaggerated claims, the administration should be launching a root-to-branch evaluation necessary to define a very different direction for the country,” Borosage wrote in an essay on OurFuture.org

Citing President Obama’s recent statements that he had “a pen and a phone” that he would use to overcome obstacles to his legislative priorities, Borosage said, “Nothing is more imperative than to use that pen and phone to convene a national commission on America’s global economic strategy. Convene the best representatives of global corporations, banks, unions, consumers and environmentalists who understand that we can’t continue down the same road and drive a review. Legislators might sensibly set up a joint special committee of Congress to parallel the president’s initiative.”

The Campaign for America’s Future has been a leading critic of attempts to fast-track through Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition to extensive commentary on its blog and online actions, the organization is launching transpacificpartnership.org as a resource for people seeking more information on the treaty.

Read the full statement: http://ourfuture.org/20140220/fast-track-to-nowhere-americas-failed-trade-policy

Conservative Budget Austerity Continues To Cripple the Economy

Senate Should Vote Again to Extend Unemployment Insurance

Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, released this statement in response to the January Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.

Today’s unemployment report from the Labor Department is disappointing. It shows that the U.S. economy created only 113,000 jobs – well below most economists’ expectations – and disappointing to millions of Americans who are looking for jobs. Many experts had hoped that this report for January would erase the gloom created by the December jobs report, which reported only 74,000 new jobs.

While bad weather may be blamed, these weak numbers show that the economy and job creation continue to be crippled by the impact of conservative austerity policies. Federal and state spending have been cut over a series of ‘deficit reduction’ and sequestration agreements forced on the country by right-wing legislators who care more about their rigid ideology than about healthy investment and growth.

Today’s report shows the unemployment rate, now at 6.6 percent, has barely budged. And the number of long-term unemployed – people who have been unable to find work for 27 weeks or more – remains at historically high levels at 3.6 million. Republican senators who just Thursday cravenly blocked a vote to extend long-term unemployment benefits must come back to the table and pass legislation that will help these people and stimulate the economy.

In poll after poll, Americans place the need for more jobs as their number one priority. But it is now clear – from recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office and other experts – that conservative government policy is killing jobs and growth. Unless new policies are instituted to spur more robust job creation, the U.S. economy will take a very long time to get back to good employment levels.

Reports from the Hamilton Project and the Economic Policy Institute have shown that even if the economy adds an average of 208,000 jobs per month, it will take until September 2018 to close the jobs gap, defined as the number of jobs needed to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.

The lesson from this disappointing jobs numbers: Congress should stop imposing job-killing austerity and take steps to invest in job creation. The Senate should pass an extension of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, and the House should quickly pass it and send it to the president.

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