Jobs Report

The November jobs report showed significant movement that – in the end – is difficult to interpret. Not surprisingly, politicians from different sides of a deeply divided party line are interpreting the report from completely different viewpoints.

According to the November 2011 employment situation report released last week, our nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent. The unemployment rate decreased a full 1.2 percentage points below the rate for November of last year, bringing our jobless rate to levels not seen since March 2009.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis contends the report shows that the Obama administration’s economic recovery efforts are picking up steam, with consumer confidence on the rise and 1.9 million private sector jobs added over the past year.

However, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) noted that the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 34 consecutive months, which is “unacceptable.” Johnson said that instead of working with House Republicans to create jobs, President Obama has hit the campaign trail demanding support for his jobs bill – one that is “filled with more spending and tax hikes.”

The November jobs reports shows a significant drop only because 315,000 Americans have given up their search for employment and weren’t counted among those seeking employment, the congressman stressed.

Johnson said Republicans in the House have passed more than 20 jobs bills that would create much-needed jobs immediately. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to consider these bills and the president has threatened to veto them, Johnson said.

In her statement regarding the most recent jobs report, the secretary of labor argued that Congress must act immediately to extend emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed before 5 million Americans lose their benefits next year. Extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance works, she contends, noting that America must continue making smart investments in the economy.

Both sides argue that inaction in Washington is slowing progress, but finger-pointing over partisan issues is doing nothing but creating more stalemates. Perhaps if leaders on either side of the aisle would put politics aside and work together as public servants, we wouldn’t have to debate over these issues – because we probably wouldn’t be in such an ugly situation in the first place.