The economy added 155,000 net new jobs in December, sufficient to keep the official unemployment rate steady at 7.8 percent, but not enough to make a dent in long-term unemployment. Deep problems remain in our economy and labor market -- under-employment remains at 14.4 percent, wages are barely growing, and too many workers are seeing their skills atrophy as they sit on the sideline of our economy. Our urgent focus must be on investment that creates jobs and lays the foundation for sustainable growth and shared prosperity.
Almost nothing would be more foolish right now than a trillion dollars of austerity, as the sequester would require, or the Fix the Debt CEO plan to undermine America’s already threadbare social safety net. As the European experience shows, austerity kills recoveries. And threats to take the economy hostage by refusing to extend the debt ceiling extension would clearly endanger our economy and our country.
Even with the renewed job growth in recent months, we remain years away from regaining the jobs lost during the Bush recession and financial crisis. We need to put in place the policies that will make the economy work for everyone, not just Wall Street and the super-wealthy. The labor movement is committed to the policies of ‘Prosperity Economics’ --- reforms that will unite and strengthen America by creating jobs, promoting economic security and rebuilding our democracy. Only by working together can we build an economy that works for all.