June 4, 2010
The American economy added 431,000 jobs in May, including 411,000 government jobs to do the important work of the U.S. census. The unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent. As welcome as these new jobs are, they are temporary and – without action from Congress – many will be eliminated over the next few months.
Private employers added only 41,000 new jobs in May, further evidence that the recovery is still fragile. The Recovery Act clearly saved us from a second Great Depression, but it was not sufficient to power strong and sustained job growth, and its effects are expected to wane in coming months.
Congress must do more, not less, to create jobs and sustain the recovery. We must create 13 million jobs to reduce the unemployment rate to six percent by the end of 2013. Most immediately, congress must move quickly to restore health care benefits for the unemployed and provide aid to states to maintain jobs and vital services. We already see state and local governments shedding 22,000 jobs in May. Without further action to offset state budget shortfalls, these job losses will offset temporary gains from federal spending.
America’s workers have paid far more than their fair share for the economic crisis – they’ve paid with their jobs, with their homes and with billions of dollars to Wall Street.
Fears of federal budget deficits are misguided. Our country has a long-term fiscal debt problem, mostly tied to rising health care costs, but we do not have a short-term deficit problem
Today’s challenge is jobs. Unless Congress addresses this challenge with the focus and energy they brought to rescuing our banks, not only will a generation of workers be doomed to unemployment and the recovery itself put at risk, but dealing with our long-term fiscal problem will be all the more difficult.