Merkley: As Unemployment Climbs, Recovery Act to Begin Assisting Workers and Creating Jobs

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released a statement following the Labor Department’s announcement that the national unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in February:

“National job loss numbers continue to climb and each day more American families are feeling the strain of the current economic crisisOregon workers are being hit especially hard.  Last week, the Oregon Employment Department announced that the state’s unemployment rate rose to almost 10 percent in January.

“I understand the strain that layoffs put on families – my family was forced to move from Myrtle Creek and Roseburg as the timber economy changed.  The loss of a job can sink families that are already struggling with a mortgage and high health care costs.  

“American workers need support and they need it now.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes funding for states to provide additional assistance to those in need and gives tax cuts to working families.  The next step is to get back the jobs we’ve lost and create new opportunities. 

“Earlier this week, Oregon received the first chunk of transportation funding from the Recovery Act: $75 million to put people to work modernizing public transportation systems in rural and urban areas.  The state also received $22 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant programs to fund local crime prevention initiatives and keep police officers on the streets.

“The Obama Administration will soon be distributing additional funds from the Recovery Act for states to use in projects that will create jobs and invest in our economy’s future.  We will not turn the tide overnight, but we will continue to take concrete steps to put our nation back to work and build a stronger nation and better future.”