Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on January Jobs Report

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Eddie Vale 202-637-5018

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on January Jobs Report

Numbers Show More Signs of Improvement but we Need Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Workers Can go to www.unemploymentlifeline.com for Assistance

WASHINGTON - January unemployment finally fell below double digits, but our country
remains in a serious, deep, and long-term jobs crisis.  We need to
create at least 10 million jobs now, and Wall Street and the big banks
that created the crisis need to foot the bill. 

We welcome the
news that unemployment dropped to 9.7%, but we shed another 20,000 jobs
last month, following a revised 150,000 loss in December, and the
number of long-term unemployed continues to break records.

These
numbers underscore what we have been saying all along.  Working
families need bigger and bolder actions –in the short, medium and long
term – to create jobs in the immediate future – or we risk permanent
scarring of our economy and our workforce.

President Obama's
Recovery Act has clearly contributed to the positive economic growth in
the 4th quarter and the slowing of job losses since he took office. 
But we still need to do more to dig out of the deep hole we're in.
We
need a bolder program to create jobs than anything that has been
proposed by Congress or the Administration to date.  Working families
need 10 million jobs, and Wall Street and the big banks should foot the
bill.  The AFL-CIO's five-step plan takes us in the right direction: 

1. Extend the lifeline for jobless workers.
Unless the Senate acts now, supplemental unemployment benefits,
additional food assistance and expansion of COBRA health care benefits
will expire in a few months. They must be extended for another 12
months to protect working families from bankruptcy, home foreclosure
and loss of health care. Extending benefits also will boost spending
and create jobs throughout the economy.

2. Rebuild America's schools, roads and energy systems. America
still has at least $2.2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. We
should put people to work to fix our nation's broken-down school
buildings and invest in transportation, green technology, energy
efficiency and more.

3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services.
State governments alone have a $178 billion budget shortfall this
year—while the recession creates greater need for their services.
States and communities must get help to maintain critical frontline
services, prevent massive job cuts and avoid deep damage to education
just when our children need it most.

4. Put people to work doing work that needs to be done.  If
the private sector can't or won't provide the needed jobs, the
government should step up to the plate, putting people who need jobs
together with work that needs to be done. These should never be
replacements for existing public jobs. They must pay competitive wages
and should target distressed communities.

5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street.  We
agree with President Obama that there needs to be more lending to small
businesses.  The bank bailout helped Wall Street, not Main Street. We
should put some of the billions of dollars in leftover Troubled Asset
Relief Program funds to work creating jobs by having community banks
lend TARP money directly to small- and medium-size businesses.  If
small businesses can get credit, they will create jobs.

Working families know that there will be no economic recovery without significant job creation.

 

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The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions. The AFL-CIO union movement represents 10.5 million members, including 2 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate. We are teachers and truck drivers, musicians and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and bottlers, engineers and editors, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and laborers-and more.

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