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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [01/07/2011]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 11-0034-NAT

Statement of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on December employment numbers

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

"Our nation's labor market improved notably in the month of December. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 103,000, and the unemployment rate decreased to 9.4 percent. Today's numbers highlight this administration's continued commitment to the well-being and prosperity of the American people. And while we still have a ways to go, one thing is for certain: Our investments have reversed the trend of catastrophic job losses and put this country on the road to recovery.

"The American economy has come a long way in the last two years. In the month President Obama was inaugurated, the economy lost nearly 800,000 jobs. In 2010, every single month posted private sector job growth, with well over a million jobs added throughout the year. And job growth has occurred in a broad range of industries, led by professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Furthermore, business and consumer spending are growing, with manufacturing activity and disposable income for American families on the rise.

"The policies and programs of this administration have pulled the economy from collapse. While we have seen steady job growth in the past year, faster job growth is needed in 2011 to help bring down the unemployment rate and put those Americans who lost jobs during the recession back to work. The Obama administration remains committed to securing a better future for every American. That's why, last month, President Obama led the charge on a successful bipartisan tax agreement, the benefits of which provide immediate relief to American families and the certainty businesses needed to get back to hiring. The agreement also included a much needed extension of Unemployment Insurance — providing a lifeline for millions of Americans as they search for work. The president's bipartisan efforts emphasize a strong commitment to a thorough recovery by creating the kind of stimulus needed to sustain steady and meaningful job growth.

"Protecting the Affordable Care Act is a large part of that commitment. Now is not the time to play politics with the health of Americans and the health of the economy. The law provides all Americans the freedom to make career choices without having to worry about losing their health insurance when changing jobs. Repealing this law would deny millions of Americans that choice. Repeal would also take health insurance away from 30 million Americans, it would allow insurance companies to boost their profits at the expense of our citizens, and it would add at least a trillion dollars to the deficit. In addition, the law includes a tax credit for small businesses to cover up to 35 percent of premium costs of their employees. In 2014, this rate coverage will increase to 50 percent. Repealing the law will make it more expensive for small businesses burdened by rising health care costs to cover their employees.

"A new year and a new Congress usher in a shared responsibility to work together to create economic prosperity for all Americans. The fact is that almost one in 10 people in the labor force are still without a job. And that is where the Labor Department — and this administration — remain focused because the American people are looking to their government for commonsense leadership during these difficult times. While the employment situation is clearly improving, my mission remains the same: to create good and safe jobs for everyone. It is what the American people are counting on and a goal we will continue to keep at the forefront of everything we do."