OPA News Release: [05/07/2010]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 10-0652-NAT
Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on April employment numbers
WASHINGTON Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the April 2010 Employment Situation report released today:
"This past April, the economy gained 290,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent.
"This is a remarkable change from when the administration took office. In April of 2009, we lost 528,000 jobs. Our economy has added jobs in five of the last six months, and we are seeing growth in a broad range of industries including health care, manufacturing, professional and business services, and construction. In the last two months, we have added more than 500,000 jobs.
"Today's numbers indicate that the steps this administration has taken over the past year are putting the American economy on the right track. The progress we have made would not have been possible without the job creation policies enacted by Congress and the administration. The most recent estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers indicate that the Recovery Act saved or created between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010 and helped raise gross domestic product for a third straight quarter. And we're seeing strong evidence that those policies continue to add jobs.
"While we are encouraged to see the economy strengthening and employers starting to hire again, we understand more work has to be done to ensure every American who wants a job has access to a good job. Congress recently passed the HIRE Act that is helping to encourage small businesses to start hiring again through tax cuts and Social Security tax exemptions for new hires. The administration is continuing to work with Congress to provide further support that will ensure a rapid recovery.
"The Department of Labor also has taken important steps to invest in programs that retrain and prepare unemployed workers with the skills and knowledge for 21st century jobs in emerging industries like clean energy. Many of these programs have been targeted toward populations with the greatest barriers to re-employment and areas with high levels of poverty.
"Last summer, the Department of Labor put more than 300,000 youth into jobs that provided them with essential early work experience as they helped to improve their own communities. This is a good program that we hope can be expanded. It is particularly critical that Congress pass a summer jobs bill soon so that local grantees can get a program up and running this summer.
"We continue to push for programs to help unemployed workers make it through this difficult time. Extending expiring unemployment benefits and health coverage is vital. I call on Congress to extend the unemployment insurance provisions in the Recovery Act through the end of the year.
"Our actions are providing American families relief and encouraging hiring in the private sector. However, we clearly have much more work to do to get Americans back to work, and the Department of Labor is committed to helping get our country back on track."