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May Jobs Numbers

Location: Washington, DC

MAY JOBS NUMBERS -- (House of Representatives - June 08, 2005)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, when is President Bush going to level with the American people about the U.S. economy? This past weekend during his weekly radio address he said the economy is on the right track. The President's statement came one day after disappointing job numbers showed our economy only created 78,000 new jobs in May, the smallest number in almost 2 years.

Keep in mind the economy has to create 150,000 each month just to keep pace with more workers entering the workforce. Last month's numbers created only half that number.

Mr. Speaker, President Bush has yet to create his first job since coming to office 5 years ago. In fact, the economy has to create an additional 24,000 jobs just to get back to where it was when he took office in 2001.

Let us compare President Bush's 5-year jobs record to past Presidents. No other modern day President has presided over an economy where not a single job was created over a 4-year period. The Center for American Progress averaged the number of jobs created by modern Presidents who served 2 years. The Center determined the average number of jobs created by those Presidents through 52 months was 5.9 million jobs. The largest job creation came under the last two Democratic Presidents to serve two terms, President Clinton, who created 11.9 million jobs during his 52 months of his Presidency, followed by President Lyndon Johnson who created 7.6 million jobs.

It is hard for me to believe after hearing these numbers President Bush could possibly be satisfied with the fact that his policies have yet to create one single private sector job. It is also hard to believe that congressional Republicans seem satisfied with these abysmal job numbers.

You do not hear any of my Republican colleagues questioning the President's economic proposals of the last 4 years.

You also do not hear President Bush or congressional Republicans voice any concern over the sharp cut in manufacturing jobs that has taken place on their watch. Since President Bush took office 5 years ago, our economy has lost 2.8 million manufacturing jobs, including 7,000 more in May. Yet neither the President nor congressional Republicans are willing to do anything to strengthen the manufacturing sector. In fact, congressional Republicans have blocked Democratic initiatives to help the manufacturing industry. Instead, they are more interested in passing $36 billion worth of tax incentives for large corporations to ship American jobs overseas.

The weakness of the job market is also showing up, Mr. Speaker, in the continued stagnation of workers' earnings. It is almost hard to believe, but wages have actually declined since the end of the recession. Again, according to a report from the Center For American Progress, real average hourly earnings declined to $16 in April of this year. That is 7 cents lower than the earnings mark at the end of the recession in November 2001. This means that over the last 4 years, on average, American workers are not getting paid any more than they were when our economy was actually in a recession.

It is no wonder Americans are trying to squeeze every last dollar out of every paycheck. While wages have stalled in my home State of New Jersey, health care, college tuition, child care and gasoline costs have increased an average of $6,000 for a New Jersey family every year.

President Bush and congressional Republicans tell the American people that the policies they have implemented over the last 4 years are working. If the President and congressional Republicans believe this economy is on the right track, I shudder to imagine what a wrong-track economy would look like.

Mr. Speaker, polls show only 32 percent of the American people think the economy is moving in the right direction. It is clear the Republican way of growing this economy simply is not working. If they would only admit that the economy is a concern, maybe we could begin to fix it collectively. I think it is time for a new economic plan that creates millions of high-paying jobs, penalizes companies that send job overseas, and helps companies confront skyrocketing health care costs. Our economy will not be back on track again until the middle class stops feeling squeezed.

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