“Revised data now show that employment increased 4,000 in November. This is obviously welcome news and the first employment increase in 23 months. Compared with the unexpectedly good report for November, December’s job loss is a slight setback… As the President has said for a year, the road to recovery will not be a straight line. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.”
– Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer, 1/8/10
Today, the Department of Labor released the unemployment report for December, which, while disappointing, shows that job losses are continuing to improve from where they were when President Obama took office. However, they are still far too high. That is why Congress will continue working to create jobs and spur economic growth.
• According to a report released this week, retail sales were better than expected during the holiday season due to a rise in consumer confidence toward the end of the holiday shopping season. “Sales for the last two months of the year jumped 1.8 percent, compared with a record 5.6 percent drop in 2008 -- marking the strongest holiday performance in three years.” [Washington Post, 1/8/10
• U.S. manufacturing activity increased in December, signaling growth in the sector for a fifth consecutive month, and a positive sign for broader economic growth. The report indicates that “U.S. manufacturing rose to 55.9 from 53.6 in November. This is the highest level since April 2006...” [CNNMoney.com, 1/4/10
• U.S. auto sales rose about 15% in December, a positive indication of continuing recovery. “Ford sales rose 33.5% in December… December's sales growth was Ford's fifth in six months.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/5/10
• President Obama announced $2.3 billion in new clean energy manufacturing tax credits included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “In order to foster investment and job creation in clean energy manufacturing ... the Section 48C program will provide a 30 percent tax credit for investments in 183 manufacturing facilities for clean energy products across 43 states.” These investments are expected to “generate more than 17,000 jobs [and] will be matched by as much as $5.4 billion in private sector funding likely supporting up to 41,000 additional jobs.” [White House, 1/8/10
• President Obama announced an expansion of the “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. This campaign will create and expand teaching jobs, including “public-private investments of more than $250 million [to] help prepare over 10,000 new math and science teachers and train over 100,000 existing teachers.” [White House, 1/6/10