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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [11/06/2009]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667 or x4650
Release Number: 09-1377-NAT

Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on October employment numbers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the October 2009 Employment Situation report released today:

"This past October, the economy lost 190,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate increased to 10.2 percent.

"We have known for some time now that the unemployment rate could reach this level, and it is an unacceptable situation. We are working hard to reverse these circumstances for the millions of Americans who need and want work but cannot find it.

"When this recession began in December 2007, the housing market was collapsing, and with the subsequent credit collapse, small businesses were unable to raise the working capital necessary to keep their employees on payroll. When this administration began its work in January 2009, the economy was in a freefall, shedding 700,000 jobs a month.

"This administration met these challenges head on by immediately putting a plan into action to create jobs and drive economic growth. As a result, housing markets are now showing signs of recovery, credit is flowing again and just last week we saw that the economy is growing, rather than shrinking, for the first time in a year.

"As the economy recovers, more businesses will begin hiring workers, and there are signs of transformation and growth even in sectors that were hardest hit. For example, last week, Vice President Biden announced Fisker Automotive Co.'s purchase and reopening of the closed GM Boxwood Plant in Delaware. The company expects to employ 2,000 workers and produce as many as 100,000 long-range hybrid cars annually.

"In Nevada, I toured the NV Energy operations center, where the power company is planning to upgrade homes using smart grid technology. The administration's investment in these types of projects will not only create thousands of jobs but lead to clean energy tomorrow.

"The Department of Labor is helping workers acquire the skills necessary for jobs in emerging and growing sectors. This past year, hundreds of thousands of people have taken advantage of our Workforce Investment Act training programs. Three-quarters of these workers are expected to get jobs shortly after completing training programs.

"As we prepare workers for new jobs and careers, we are also providing needed assistance to those that have lost their jobs. This morning, the president will sign an expansion of unemployment benefits as well as an additional tax cut for struggling businesses to help save and create jobs. These extended unemployment benefits will strengthen our economy further and create new jobs as the benefits are spent on food, clothing, rent and other household needs.

"At the Department of Labor, we are working tirelessly to ensure that we fulfill our responsibility to provide workers with the assistance they need today and to help them find good jobs.

"We still have a ways to go before we can be sure that all Americans have access to good jobs, but I am confident that we will reach that goal. And I will make sure that the Department of Labor is supporting workers every step of the way."