Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the November 2011 Employment Situation report released today:
"Our nation's unemployment rate experienced a significant drop to 8.6 percent in November, a full 1.2 percentage points lower than this time last year. Nonfarm payroll employment added 140,000 private sector jobs last month. This means we've added 1.9 million private sector jobs over the past year -- an average of 157,000 a month.
"The policies this administration has pursued are adding jobs back into the economy, and our recovery is picking up steam. In November, American companies increased hiring across virtually all regions and all sectors to keep pace with growing consumer consumption and demand. Last week we saw people talk with their wallets. One week after soaring Black Friday spending, we are seeing job growth firmly in the black heading into the holidays.
"Personal income and consumer spending are both up. Americans are showing more confidence in the economy. Now it's incumbent upon Washington to give them confidence in our government to solve our biggest challenges and put millions of Americans back to work. This is a strong report, but we can't forget those Americans who lost their jobs during the recession and are still struggling.
"We know what has worked: extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance, and making smart investments in our economy. The clock is ticking. If Congress doesn't extend emergency unemployment benefits for our long-term unemployed this month, 5 million Americans will lose their benefits next year. These are the everyday heroes of our recovery who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They spend all day, every day filling out applications, sending out resumes and looking for work. Now is not the time to turn our backs on them. They deserve better. They deserve action.
"Congress must act immediately to extend emergency unemployment benefits and payroll tax relief. We must pass these measures this month to continue the positive trends we're seeing in today's report."