WASHINGTON - April 2 - Todays unemployment report is good news and we hope it will be sustained. But this report does not erase our nations jobs crisis. Before we buy into a lot of hype, we need to look at this report in the context of the bigger picture of sustained job loss and take a sober look at how far we still have to go to get America working again. We have 1.8 million fewer jobs today than in January 2001 and average monthly job growth over the last seven months has been only 108,000 jobs. The nations information industry lost another 1,000 jobs overall last month and the telecommunications sector shed 2,000 jobs. Long-term unemployment actually rose in March, pointing to the difficulties confronting workers trying to find jobs, and the average duration of unemployment remains longer than 20 weeks.
Since the first of the year, more than a million jobless workers have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits without finding work, yet the Bush Administration still refuses to support legislation to extend the emergency federal unemployment program.
And we suffer from a real shortage of good jobs jobs that come with good wages, health care and retirement security. According to the Economic Policy Institute, jobs in industries that are growing pay an average 21 percent less than jobs in industries that are contracting.
Many states are still reeling, with unemployment rates edging upward. No amount of rosy rhetoric will bring good paying jobs to states where tens of thousands of white-collar and blue-collar workers have joined the ranks of the unemployed as U.S. jobs move overseas. Furthermore, millions of workers are at risk of losing overtime pay as the Administration prepares to issue final overtime eligibility rule changes. We wont have a genuine jobs recovery until there is sustained growth across-the-board, providing all Americans who want to work a meaningful opportunity to do so. To get there, we need aggressive policies and actions to create good jobs now.