Friday, May 8, 2009

Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney On April Jobs Report

America’s workers are suffering through the worst job loss in a
generation, while too many politicians continue to stand in the way of
urgently needed government action and reform. Addressing the deeply
rooted problems in our labor market is just as important to ending the
recession as fixing the banking system.

We lost 539,000 jobs in April, bringing the total job loss since the
recession began to over 5.7 million and the unemployment rate to 8.9 %.
While job loss slowed last month, the number of people unemployed for
a long time has risen, and as a result of George Bush’s disastrous
policies, this is now the longest recession since World War II.

The only two bright spots in the jobs report were small increases in
government jobs and education and health care. It is clear that
sustained and targeted government spending will be crucial to turning
around this dire jobs picture. President Obama's early action in
implementing a substantial economic recovery act and strong budget -
one that included a serious down payment on national health care
reform, investments in needed infrastructure and green jobs and
essential funding for education and workforce development - has been
and will continue to be absolutely critical in the coming months.

These job losses are deep, long lasting and widespread. The number of
long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by
498,000 to 3.7 million over the month and has risen by 2.4 million
since the start of the recession in December 2007. We need determined
action from the Obama Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve
in response. We need to get our economy back on track, create good
paying jobs
, and restore balance to the fundamental building blocks of
our economy. We must make sure to focus on the real economy, not just
the financial economy.

The threat of home loss is also central to this crisis and the
government is likely going to need to do more to address this issue.

We also must make broad-based economic changes to have sustained
economic growth and an economy that works for everyone. We must deal
with our country’s unsustainable trade deficit. We must reform our
financial regulatory system to provide more transparency and government
oversight and regulation. And we must pass the Employee Free Choice
so workers can win the freedom to form unions and bargain
collectively with their employers for fair wages, security and

To help America’s unemployed, the AFL-CIO and Working America have
created the largest online resource for workers at

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