Merkley Statement on National Unemployment Rate

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released a
statement today following the announcement by the Department of Labor that job
losses were lower than expected even though the national unemployment rate
climbed to 9.4 percent.


“The loss of nearly 350,000 jobs last month is
unacceptable.  While some experts predicted that the numbers would be
worse, ‘not as bad as we feared’ is not good enough.  The fact remains
that more Americans are out of work than any point in the last quarter-century. 
Oregon has been hit particularly hard, with the second-highest unemployment
rate in the nation.

“As long as Americans are facing unemployment, we must
continue pushing for economic recovery.   As funding from the
Recovery Act has come to Oregon for infrastructure projects, the state’s
unemployment rate has leveled off.  It is my hope that additional recovery
funding, combined with thawing of the credit markets and plans for a shift to a
clean energy economy, will generate real economic growth for our state.

“Congress still has a lot of work to do in retooling our
economy, including restoring sound regulation to Wall Street and beginning the
shift to a clean energy economy that will produce the jobs of the future. 
We must also reform our health care system to cut costs for businesses and
families and provide every American with access to affordable care.  The
economic crisis before us is a multifaceted problem that can only be addressed
by taking on massive job loss in the short term and investing in a solid
infrastructure and healthy economy over the long term.”


The Department of Labor reported today that the nation’s
unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent, the highest since 1983.  However,
the pace of job losses slowed to 345,000, less than analysts expected. 
The number of Americans unemployed stands at 14.5 million, including more than
250,000 Oregonians.