Merkley: As Unemployment Crisis Worsens, Emphasis Must be on Job Creation and Economic Investment

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released a statement following the Oregon Employment Department’s announcement that the state’s unemployment rate climbed to almost 11 percent in February:

“Oregon’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 11 percent, up roughly five percentage points over five months.  This isn’t just a disturbing trend; it’s a crisis for Oregon workers and their families.  Unemployment creates a rippling effect that hurts not only families and businesses, but entire communities.

“We aren’t going to be able to bounce back from these jobs cuts next week or even next month, but  I’ve been working with President Obama and my colleagues in Congress to lay the groundwork for economic recovery and job creation through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.   However, there is no doubt that much more needs to be done – starting with stabilizing the housing market and reforming the financial markets.  We have to address the root causes of the current crises before we can fully recover.

“As a nation, it would be a mistake for us to underestimate the severity of this crisis.  For America to emerge stronger, we must put our differences aside and act with urgency.  American families cannot afford for anyone to be focusing on scoring points and saying ‘no’ rather than developing constructive solutions to put people back to work and restore fair rules of the road.   We all need to be working together every single day to make sure we once again become a nation where every person has the opportunity to succeed.”

An audio file of Senator Merkley’s statement can be downloaded at: