Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) said that the January jobs report, the 35th consecutive month of job creation, shows continued economic recovery, but cautioned that it can still be adversely affected by partisan rancor and the looming so-called sequestration cuts mandated by the 2011 fiscal cliff deal.
The U.S. Department of Labor's report showed a gain of 157,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. Revisions to the November and December jobs report also added another 127,000 jobs. In the last six months, close to one million jobs have been created; in 2009, when President Obama took office, the United States was losing 700,000 jobs per month, with our economy teetering on the brink of collapse.
"The partisan brinksmanship of the last couple of years has led to unprecedented manufactured financial crises which has done great damage to our economy. The debt ceiling fiasco even led to a downgrade of our credit. A byproduct of that negotiation was the mandatory cuts to domestic and defense budgets should Congress fail to come to a deficit-reduction agreement. I called this deal a farce then and one doomed to failure, and unfortunately that has become reality. I opposed it then and I oppose it now.
"As long as Congress continues to play games with fiscal legislation, our economy is left with an uncertainty that weakens our economy. We need to pass a comprehensive jobs package in this new Congress, and do so very quickly. It is time for us to reach a balanced agreement to provide stability, enable industry to feel comfortable adding jobs, and find a way to help our states and local governments stabilize their finances as well.
"The economy has changed over the years and our workforce, and our government need to change with it. The U.S. invests 2.4% of its GDP into infrastructure, while Europe invests 5% and China invests 9%. We cannot continue to lag if we want to lead. I call on my colleagues to act on this and prove that the poisonous working atmosphere of the 112th Congress will not be repeated in the 113th Congress."