OPA News Release: [04/02/2010]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 10-0440-NAT
Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on March Employment Numbers
WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the March 2010 Employment Situation report released today.
“This past March, the economy gained 162,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent.
“Today’s numbers show that the steps we have taken over the past year have put the American economy on the right track. The progress we have made would not have been possible without the Recovery Act. The most recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that the Recovery Act raised employment by between 1 million and 2.1 million jobs through the end of 2009, and raised GDP by 1.5 to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
“The job growth this month is an encouraging sign, but we still have more work to do. Fifteen million Americans are still unemployed, and 6.5 million have been looking for work for more than six months. That is why it is important Congress pass continuations of COBRA health coverage and unemployment benefits.
“While we are encouraged to see continued growth in the temporary help services sector, the manufacturing sector has seen modest job growth over the last three months. And employment in health care and education sectors continued to increase.
“Job creation remains the administration’s primary focus, and we are tackling the problem from all angles. The recently passed Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment, or HIRE, Act gives tax breaks to businesses that hire new workers and make critical investments that will help those businesses grow. As the president has emphasized, we need further investments in small businesses, infrastructure and clean energy.
“It also is important that job creation measures reach the groups that are suffering the most. That’s why the president and I support ramping up on-the-job training, continuing our successful Pathways out of Poverty green jobs training program and renewing our valuable summer jobs program. It is particularly critical that Congress pass a summer jobs bill soon so that local grantees can get programs up and running this summer. Last year, we put more than 300,000 youth into jobs that provided them with essential early work experience as they helped to improve their own communities.
“The actions this administration has undertaken are providing relief to the jobless and encouraging new hiring in the private sector. However, we know that we still have a ways to go before we can be sure that all Americans have access to good jobs, and we will continue working toward that goal.”