Washington, D.C.— Dr. Christian Weller, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, today made the following statement about December’s unemployment figures:
The latest jobs data showing 200,000 jobs created in December and a net 1.6 million jobs for the year indicates that our economy is moving in the right direction. But it also shows that 2011 brought tremendous economic pain for millions of Americans due to record high long-term unemployment.
Some bright spots in the economy are worth noting, however. All private-sector industries showed employment gains in December 2011, marking a fairly broad-based jobs recovery. Manufacturing, for instance, added jobs for 10 months in 2011, bringing total manufacturing employment to 11.8 million, its highest level since May 2009.
But job growth is still too slow to substantially alleviate the massive economic pain of millions of unemployed Americans. The share of those unemployed for 27 weeks or more averaged a record high of 43.8 percent in 2011, which still stood at a high 42.5 percent in December. And the average unemployment length rose to 40.8 weeks in December 2011 from 34.2 weeks in December 2010, while jobs expanded and the unemployment rate fell. Employers often discriminated against the long-term unemployed, underscoring the continued need for extended unemployment benefits that are once again due to expire at the end of next month unless Congress acts.
To speak to Dr. Christian Weller about the monthly jobs report, contact Katie Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6285.