The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Liz Rose, (p) 202-587-1638,

Jobs Numbers Demonstrate Economy Needs Action to Spur Growth, Not Austerity

CAF's Hickey Urges Congress to Abandon Damaging Sequester Cuts


Today's report that the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in January is welcome news that the American economy has not sunk into recession, as many European countries have. But Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America's Future warned that the austerity policies that have pushed unemployment upward in those countries are now scheduled to be imposed on the U.S. if Republicans insist on letting the sequestration cuts go into effect - and if they continue to threaten to crash the economy by failing to lift the debt ceiling.

"Republicans are repeatedly playing dangerous games with the U.S. economy, scaring investors and consumers alike, when we need much higher levels of investment and jobs growth if we are ever going to go beyond employing new entrants into the labor force and create opportunities for the millions of Americans still looking for work," said Hickey.

The slight uptick in the unemployment rate, to 7.9 percent, may be an indication that some discouraged workers, who had given up on finding employment, are now once again looking for jobs. "We should be taking steps to create jobs, so those workers can find opportunities, not imposing European-style austerity, as is now scheduled in coming weeks," said Hickey.

Hickey noted that the January jobs report shows manufacturing jobs were virtually unchanged since July 2012, an indication that low domestic demand, combined with economic troubles in Europe and China, continues to cripple markets for American manufacturing output, reducing hiring.

The U.S. needs public investment in infrastructure, aid to states to stem continuing layoffs in the public sector, and other steps to help hard-pressed consumers. Instead, Hickey noted, since January most working-class Americans have lost the payroll tax cuts that helped to sustain the recovery by putting more purchasing power into the economy.

Hickey called for an end to austerity and for new job-creation measures. As Congress moves toward a debate over the federal debt limit, Hickey noted that his Campaign for America's Future, along with 96 other national organizations, are urging President Obama to 1) insist on policies that create jobs; 2) oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; 3) protect our nation's safety net; and 4) ensure adequate revenues to preserve the basic functions of government.

The Campaign for America's Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.