Merkley Statement on the National Unemployment Rate

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.”