|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||
|Friday, January 10, 2003||
Jesse Jacobs - 202-224-4524
Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), the Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee issued the following statement in response to the latest unemployment figures released today by the Department of Labor Statistics:
"Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the unemployment rate remained at 6.0 percent in December underscores the continuing signs of weakness in the U. S. economy. Private sector jobs fell by 115,000 in December, and November’s payrolls were revised downward to show a loss of 104,000 private sector jobs. Over the past two months, 219,000 private sector jobs have been lost. The situation is also deteriorating for the long term unemployed. Those unemployed more than 26 weeks increased by 122,000 in December and now stand at 1.85 million.
"These disturbing reports demonstrate the compelling need for action to assist the long-term unemployed. Although the Congress this week finally passed legislation extending unemployment insurance benefits for those who have not exhausted their 13 weeks of coverage, no extension was provided for the 1 million Americans who have exhausted their benefits and are still looking for a job. An extension of unemployment benefits for these “exhaustees” would be the kind of effective short term stimulus to the economy that Congress should enact, not the President’s proposed giveaway of tax breaks for the wealthy, 90 percent of which would not take effect this year."