Noting a gain of 160,000 new jobs nationally since November, a new White House release contends that the current pace of recovery is “far below the rate necessary to pull us out of the pandemic jobs deficit.”
Noting that the latest job numbers for January verify that there are roughly 10 million fewer jobs in early 2021 compared to where those numbers stood in February of last year, the White House additionally says that although the national unemployment rate is now down to 6.5%, that is still nearly 3% higher than the rate last February.
The White House statement contends that the most recent job numbers are “yet another reminder that our economy remains in a hole worse than the depths of the Great Depression.”
The statement, issued by Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, both members of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, contends that job gains in the last three months “mask very different trends across industries.”
The two economists particularly note that “some industries, including leisure and hospitality, education and health services, retail trade, transportation, and warehousing, manufacturing, and construction, saw job losses,” even as other industries, such as professional and business services, recorded increases.
Because of the uneven and sometimes up and down nature of the jobs recovery, the White House statement is urging Congressional passage of additional relief until the pandemic is brought under control, so that “families and businesses can stay solvent, and that workers can feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.”
In an interview with the Reuters news service, Boushey emphasized the need for extended unemployment benefits as a part of any economic recovery package, remarking: “Unemployment benefits are one of the first lines of defense in any recession.”
By Garry Boulard
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