OPA News Release: [03/06/2009]
Contact Name: Jennifer Kaplan
Phone Number: (202) 693-5052
Release Number: 09-0251-NAT
Statement of U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis on February 2009 employment numbers
WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the February 2009 Employment Situation report released today:
"Today we learned that our economy lost another 651,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent. Four-point-four million Americans have now lost their jobs since this recession began last year, and there are now nearly three million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or more.
"These data do not just represent abstract statistics. Rather, they illustrate the struggles of millions of Americans who do not know how they will raise their families or pay their bills and mortgages. They are the central focus of this administration's economic policies, and why we are moving swiftly and aggressively to jumpstart job creation and grow our economy.
"As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama and I have already moved to increase unemployment insurance benefits and to extend the duration of unemployment insurance. In addition, I am announcing today that the Labor Department is making available more than three and a half billion dollars to states for education, training and re-employment services.
"We will continue to do whatever is necessary to break the destructive cycle of job loss in this country and put Americans back to work. That includes our plans to re-start lending for consumers and small businesses, help responsible homeowners pay their mortgages and re-finance their homes, and address the long-term economic challenges we face including the high cost of health care, our dependence on oil and the state of our schools.
"From the day this administration began, we knew that solving the economic crisis we were presented with would not be easy and would not happen overnight. But the president and I believe that this nation has both the resources and the will to meet this challenge, and emerge stronger and more prosperous than before."