New job numbers released today highlight the urgent need for action on the Economic Recovery plan. In January, 598,000 jobs were lost - the worst month since 1974 and the 13th straight month of losses. Since the recession began in December 2007, a record 3.6 million American jobs have been lost with one-half of this decline occurring in the past three months alone.
Last week, the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, working from priorities shared with President Barack Obama. This week, the Senate is set to finish action on this measure so that a final economic recovery package can go to the President next week for his signature.
Economists agree that unless the Congress acts to stem the tide of unemployment and disappearing jobs - the American economy will continue to decline.
Ian Shepherdson, High Frequency Economics
“If ever there were an economy in need of stimulus, this is it.” [New York Times, 2/6/09]
James Galbraith, University of Texas in Austin
“We are in the middle of a very severe, a violent, collapse in activity and it could go on for months.” The report will likely diminish objections “that somehow the president's recovery plan is too large and should be trimmed back.” [Bloomberg, 2/6/09]
Chad Stone, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
“With job losses mounting and the recession deepening, there is no time to waste enacting the economic recovery package now before the Congress. That package will provide needed benefits to unemployed workers, and it would help stem the tide of job losses and moderate the severity of the downturn.” [2/6/09]
Mark Zandi, Moody's Economy.com
“Businesses are panicked and fighting for survival and slashing their payrolls. I think we're trapped in a very adverse, self-reinforcing cycle. The downturn is intensifying, and likely to intensify further unless policy makers respond aggressively.” [New York Times, 2/6/09]
Jon Ogg, 24/7 Wall Street
“This report only established the urgency to pass whatever stimulus package and (bank) rescue package comes next week. This is going to get worse. Much worse. President Obama has already warned in many of his speeches that millions of more jobs will be lost.” [AFP, 2/6/09]
Sung Won Sohn, California State University
“The layoffs at large corporations are spreading to small to medium-sized companies. With [a] surge in layoffs, even people with jobs are afraid to spend, exacerbating the decline. As the credit crunch spreads, the worst is yet to come for the economy and the jobs. Without the stimulus program, the downside momentum won't be arrested.” [New York Times, 2/6/09]
Nigel Gault, Global Insight
“These are huge, huge declines. Hopefully it will concentrate some minds in the Senate so they can come to an agreement (on a stimulus package).” [Reuters, 2/6/09]
- create and save 3 to 4 million jobs, rebuilding America, making us more globally competitive and energy independent, and transforming our economy for long-term growth.
- give 95 percent of Americans an immediate tax cut.
- invest over $100 billion in roads, bridges, mass transit, flood control, clean water projects, and other infrastructure projects.
- invest quickly into the economy - 75 percent in the first 18 months.
The Recovery Plan has unprecedented accountability measures built in--providing strong oversight, an historic degree of public transparency, and including no earmarks.