“Because of the steps we've taken, the markets have now stabilized. Nobody's worrying about another Great Depression like they were just a year ago, and the worst of the storm has passed. But I don't need to tell you the devastation remains. Today, one in 10 Americans still can't find work. That's why jobs has to be our number one focus in 2010. And we're going to start where most new jobs start -- with small businesses.”
– President Barack Obama, 2/2/10
Today, the Department of Labor released their unemployment report for January showing the unemployment rate improved slightly. However, as jobs losses continue, we know there is still more work to be done. That is why Congress will continue our focus on creating jobs and getting Americans back to work.
• According to today’s report from the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for January was 9.7%, a slight improvement over December’s rate of 10%. And while the country lost 20,000 jobs in January, “aside from November's gain, January's job losses were the smallest since the recession began.” Today’s report included other indications that America continues on a path to economic recovery: “The report included more good news from the manufacturing sector, which is a key factor in the recovery. Manufacturers gained 11,000 jobs, its largest increase since April 2006. Retailers added 42,100 jobs, the most since November 2007, before the recession began. Temporary help services gained 52,000 jobs, the fourth month of gains in that category. That could signal future hiring, as employers usually hire temp workers before permanent ones.” [Associated Press, 2/5/2010
• President Obama announced plans for a new program to encourage small business lending, another important step in efforts to help businesses create jobs. “The administration's proposal would invest $30 billion from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program in community banks to encourage them to lend to small businesses.... The lending program is part of a broad package of jobs-growth proposals that Congress will consider in coming days.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/3/2010
• A manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management indicates the U.S. economy is recovering: “a new survey showed that banks have stopped making it tougher for consumers and businesses to borrow, and manufacturing activity climbed to its highest levels in five years…. With manufacturing activity at its highest point since August 2004 and continued month-to-month gains, the sector's recovery appears more sustainable than many economists predicted just a few months ago. That bodes well for the overall economy.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/2/2010
• A report released by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board indicates that the Recovery Act created 600,000 jobs in the last 3 months of 2009, “a figure in line with the administration's goals for job creation through the end of 2010.” [Washington Post, 2/1/10
; White House, 1/6/10