Merkley Statement on the National Unemployment Rate

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley
released the following statement today on the announcement by the Department of
Labor that the national unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent, the highest
rate since 1983:

“The unemployment rate isn’t
just a statistic we use to measure the state of the economy.  It
represents not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of families who are
struggling with the loss of a job. 

“Economists may say that we’re in a recovery now, but to
those families the recession drags on.  On Main Street, there’s no such
thing a ‘jobless recovery.’  To truly pull out of this recession, we have
to create jobs. 


“After an economic fall like the one we’ve had over the past
eighteen months, there are no easy answers to recovery.  But we must focus
like a laser on creating jobs. 


“Earlier this week, Congress passed a bill that will provide
Oregonians out of work with an additional 20 weeks of unemployment
benefits.  This money will go into the pockets of those mostly likely to spend
it quickly and help local businesses.  It will go into effect after it
receives President Obama’s signature today.


“The Recovery Act continues to create and save jobs, having
created over 9,500 in Oregon since it was passed in January while preventing
catastrophic state budget cuts that would have cost us thousands of jobs. 


“But we need to do more.  We have to get our banks
lending again to small businesses so they can grow and hire employees. We have
to solidify our growing clean energy sector so Oregon workers and American
workers own the next huge growth industry.  We should get to work on an
overdue transportation bill that could put billions of dollars in needed road
and rail projects in the pipeline.  I’m working hard on each of these
issues to provide our economy with a boost to turn things around.


“We won’t get Americans back to work by waiting for a
solution to magically appear.  Every day, I’m focused on getting our
economy back on track and creating the good-paying jobs that sustain families.”