WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning regarding unemployment figures for December released this morning by the Department of Labor:
"Today's new unemployment figures clearly demonstrate again what many Americans have known for many months: the Bush Administration has no jobs plan at all. Month after month, the President and his economic advisors have assured the American people that substantial jobs growth is just around the corner. But more and more, they sound like slick talkers who simply engage in wishful thinking.
"The economy's gain of 1,000 jobs in December is not just anemic, it's pathetic. We need to gain 150,000 jobs a month just to keep pace with population growth. There are 8.4 million unemployed Americans today, and nearly 5 million people are working part-time who would rather have full-time employment. To add insult to injury, the manufacturing sector continues to stagger. The economy shed another 26,000 jobs in December, the 41st straight month of job loss in manufacturing for a total of 500,000 jobs lost in 2003.
"The Administration undoubtedly will point to the small drop in the unemployment rate as proof that the economy is getting better. But that glosses over the fact that this decrease is attributable to the 300,000 Americans who gave up looking for work in December and thus were not counted among the unemployed.
"The dearth of a real, pro-active plan to address joblessness in America demonstrates that the Bush Administration is in deep denial on this critical issue, and just hoping that it does not galvanize voters in this election year. Millions of American families are feeling the pain of unemployment and struggling just to get by.
"Democrats will continue to fight for economic policies that spur job growth and we will urge Republicans to drop their opposition to extending unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed. Unemployment is the Achilles' heel of this Administration and Congressional Republicans, and they cannot continue to ignore it."