Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) said the July jobs report's mixed results -- 163,000 jobs added, the most in five months, but a small uptick in the unemployment rate -- proves that Congress should not break for August recess, and must come together on a substantial bipartisan jobs bill immediately. The 12-term Congressman said "we cannot justify going home for a month while so many people remain out of work. Congress cannot continue sitting on the sidelines."
Over the past two years, almost 4.5 million private sector jobs have been created, with job growth for 29 consecutive months. Employment grew in professional and business services (49,000), food services (29,000), manufacturing (25,000) and health care (12,000). Utilities employment dropped 8,000, due to workers being locked out for almost the whole month of July by Con Edison in New York. The unemployment, virtually unchanged at 8.25%, was rounded up by the U.S. Department of Labor to 8.3%.
Rep. Engel said, "It is an encouraging sign to see more jobs created than in any of the past five months. Hope is returning as more people are looking for work, but it is still not enough to move us forward. To use an Olympics analogy -- we are treading water instead of racing for the gold. Congress should be in Washington working together to pass jobs legislation. Instead, the House Majority has wasted so much time passing 33 bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act and fighting tooth and nail to preserve tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
"The Republican Party made it clear in 2009 -- with comments attributed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- that priority number one was to defeat the President. It would not be a top priority to put people back to work, nor to solve important problems such as health care, energy policy, and education reform. Priority number one was politics. This win at all costs mentality have had real costs attached - the welfare and viability of the American people. Leadership is not the accumulation of power, or to take a pound of flesh from your opponent whenever possible. Leadership and compromise go hand in hand, and if they had the well-being of the country at heart, we would have been working together during these lean years to bring our economy back.
"Our country is still recovering from the economic freefall that cost us about 4.6 million jobs during those dark months at the tail end of the Bush Administration. We are no longer in crisis mode the way we were in 2008-09, but perhaps we should be. There are too many families out of work, and Congress should be seeking ways to add jobs through infrastructure projects and other means. The people cannot afford to have their time wasted any further with showmanship and posturing. They need action from their Congressional leaders, not month-long recesses."