In an effort to accelerate economic growth and connect the unemployed with job opportunities, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is continuing his call for more effective, integrated employment and training programs and for Congress to act during the lame duck session to prevent 2 million jobless Americans from having their unemployment insurance (UI) cut off at the end of December. Today, after the latest U.S. employment report showed the economy growing by 114,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent, the lowest rate since January 2009, Reed issued the following statement:
"The unemployment rate and job market are heading in a better direction than they were four years ago, but too many Americans are still looking for work or can't find a full-time job and the simple fact is: If we could only get some cooperation instead of obstruction, Congress could do much more to help.
"But instead of aiding the recovery, Tea Party Republicans have pushed for cuts to stall it and cause more job losses. Instead of incentivizing hiring and bringing American manufacturing jobs back home, they are protecting tax credits for companies that ship jobs overseas. Instead of helping job seekers, they reduced federal unemployment benefits in the midst of a severe jobs shortage -- which their misguided policies created and exacerbated. And if they allow federal unemployment insurance benefits to expire at the end of the year, 2 million American families will face even greater hardships.
"Independent economists have shown unemployment insurance benefits create between $1.52 to $1.64 in demand for every dollar spent. And the number one thing all businesses need right now in order to grow is more demand.
"We need to help ensure entrepreneurs who can create jobs have access to small-business financing. We must also invest in proven job growth strategies that work, such as reemployment services that provide job search assistance and training. This is a smart approach to not only creating jobs, but saving taxpayers in the long-term. Helping people return to work more rapidly lowers UI expenditures and training workers for high-skilled jobs can help increase tax revenues.
"This is a critical moment for our country. Our economic recovery remains a work in progress, and mustn't be derailed by a return to the failed policies of more tax breaks for the wealthiest and deregulation of Wall Street. We need to keep working and doing everything we can to put more Americans back to work."
Senator Reed led the effort to continue unemployment insurance benefits and enact important reforms to help more Americans find work and stay in their jobs in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which was signed into law in February.