Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today called on President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress to take action on job creation in the coming year. The Department of Labor announced new national unemployment data for December finding that only 1,000 jobs have been created during the busy holiday month.
“President Bush and the Republican leaders in Congress must take action and focus on job creation. It is shocking that only 1,000 jobs were created nationwide during the last month of 2003,” said Lofgren. “These unemployment numbers are frustrating, especially after the Bush administration recently projected that 200,000 new jobs will be created each month. Silicon Valley has been hit hard the past three years with one in three households experiencing a layoff since President Bush took office and a 7.1 percent unemployment rate in San Jose.”
The Department of Labor also announced the unemployment rate for 2003 was six percent, the highest annual jobless rate in nearly a decade.
“When Congress meets later this month, I will urge my Republican colleagues to end the failed Bush economic policies and provide support to those who remain unemployed,” Lofgren said. “Our first action when returning to Washington must be to extend unemployment benefits, so those out of a job can get the help they need to find work.”
“The President says that lowered "unemployment rates" are good news. But the truth is that there are more Americans without jobs -- and now without unemployment benefits. This is disastrous,” said Lofgren. “President Bush must deliver to Congress a detailed job creation plan in the upcoming State of the Union address.”
Rep. Lofgren supports a bill (H.R. 3568) to extend the federal benefits program for an additional six months, increase the amount of benefits to 26 weeks, include coverage for 1.4 million workers who have already exhausted their extended benefits and expand unemployment insurance coverage for low-wage and part-time workers.
Since the beginning of the Bush administration, long-term unemployment has tripled to the highest level in almost 10 years. The percentage of Americans exhausting their regular unemployment benefits without finding a job has reached a record level. Many of the unemployed will run out of benefits long before they find a job. In fact, two million Americans have been out of work for more than six months.