Friday, December 4, 2009

Jobs Data Points To Stabilization

Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer released a statement today commenting on the 0.2% drop in nationwide unemployment in which she characterized employment gains in temporary help services as hopeful for the future of the American economy. “It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative,” Romer said. “Bit, it is clear we are moving in the right direction.”

Yesterday, President Obama hosted a conference of 130 business and labor leaders at the White House to discuss job creation measures the federal government might undertake in the next month or two to keep the employment trend moving in a favorable direction. Stressing the unprecedented federal deficits and the strain they produce on the national economy, Obama pointed out that Washington presently lacks sufficient resources to fund direct government job creation legislation. “Ultimately, true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector,” Obama told the assembled business and labor leaders and academic economists. “We have to face the fact that our resources are limited.” Obama is expected to detail forthcoming legislation to spur job creation and extend jobless relief for the unemployed in a speech next Tuesday morning at the Brookings Institution.

Expectations are that Speaker Pelosi and her Congressional colleagues will soon introduce legislation funding job creation programs with the $150 billion left over in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, despite Treasury Secretary Geithner’s preference to use the cash to pay down the national debt. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed today proposed additional federal borrowings of as much as $100 billion to pay for one year of extended unemployment benefits and COBRA health care subsidies for those Americans still out of work. Reed may seek to attach his legislation to the forthcoming omnibus appropriations bill. About a million unemployed Americans will exhaust their benefits in January, and by March 2010 that number could rise as high as 3 million.

Additional proposals could include wage subsidies or tax benefits for hiring new workers.
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