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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [03/05/2010]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 10-0290-NAT

Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on February Employment Numbers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the February 2010 Employment Situation report released today:

"This past February, the economy lost 36,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent.

"Today's numbers underscore that we still have work to do before we can be sure that all Americans have access to good jobs. Today's report also shows positive signs that the economy is moving in the right direction. For example, we see continued growth in employment in the health care and manufacturing sectors.

"As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimate of jobs lost may have been affected by snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast that occurred during the time period that payroll data were collected. Any one month's estimates are subject to problems and unforeseen circumstances like this, which is why it is important that we look at the trend. And clearly, the trend shows that we are losing fewer jobs per month, bringing us closer to consistent job growth.

"Nevertheless, too many families in this country continue to struggle. That's why the administration is working with Congress to provide much needed assistance to our hardest hit communities. Yesterday's passage of an initial jobs bill in the House is another step in the right direction. But we can and should do more. For that reason the administration is urging the Congress to act on the priorities the president already has outlined on small businesses, infrastructure and clean energy, and to move quickly to renew key Recovery Act programs that will contribute to job growth this year.

"Through the Department of Labor, for example, we could put hundreds of thousands of young people to work this summer building skills that they can take with them into the workplace. And by further supporting oversubscribed and successful job training programs like Pathways Out of Poverty and Energy Training Partnerships we can make sure that our workers have the skills they need to compete as job growth returns, particularly in growing sectors like clean energy. In addition, the administration supports investing in on-the-job training programs, which help jumpstart hiring by lowering training costs for businesses.

"These are some of the many efforts we need in order to tackle our economic challenges, and this administration is committed to working with Congress on these additional job creation measures because getting Americans back to work remains our top priority."