Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the August 2011 Employment Situation report released today:
"The private sector added 17,000 jobs in August, but those gains were offset by the loss of 17,000 government jobs. Total non-farm unemployment, therefore, was unchanged last month. The unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 9.1 percent.
"Consumer confidence dropped sharply last month as Congress took the nation to the brink of default. We knew that this legislative gridlock was going to have repercussions, and the hiring slowdown reflected in today's report shows the real-life consequences that political gamesmanship has on business decisions and workers' lives. These numbers are a stark reminder that actions -- and inaction -- on Capitol Hill have consequences.
"Next Thursday, President Obama will outline a bipartisan plan to create jobs and generate growth that pulls the best ideas from both political parties. If Congress is serious about job creation, the package will pass.
"The time for partisan bickering is over. The American people are fed up. Concerned citizens need to get engaged in this process, contact their leaders in Congress and hold them accountable.
"For example, there are more than a million construction workers actively looking for employment opportunities to put their skills to use. We know from our mayors and metropolitan leaders that there are tremendous infrastructure needs in cities and towns across the country. Infrastructure investments would create jobs immediately and be a catalyst for broader investment and growth that are critical to our recovery.
"As Labor Day approaches, my thoughts are with those who have suffered the most during this tough economy -- our unemployed. They get up every morning, spend the entire day filling out applications and sending out resumes, and are usually told "no.' Then they wake up the next morning and start all over again. I am inspired and amazed by their resiliency. This country's elected leaders owe it to our unemployed workers to end the partisan point-scoring and unite behind a set of common-sense strategies to put Americans back to work."