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January was a better month for American workers looking for employment

Walmart added 600 new jobs to the DC economy
Walmart added 600 new jobs to the DC economy
Photo by Professor Metze

January 2014 was a better month for unemployed American workers looking for jobs. In fact, it was the best month since 2008 when the financial crisis in the nation put millions of people out of a job and left the finances for many homeowners in shambles.

People who are asking if the economy is finally turning around are asking a honest question. In May of 2010 the answer was no. However, January of 2014 is a different story. There were 142,000 new jobs created in the private sector. There were 600 new jobs in the District created by Walmart.

January was the 47th consecutive month of private sector job growth as 8.5 million new jobs were created. In a nation of 300 million people 6.6 percent unemployment still leaves a great many people out of work; however, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez is looking at the positive job growth as a sign that the national economy is getting better.

"The U.S. economy's recovery continued in the first month of 2014 – 142,000 new jobs created in the private sector and 113,000 overall. January was the 47th consecutive month of private-sector job growth, with 8.5 million new jobs over that period. The unemployment rate (6.6 percent) maintained its downward trend, reaching its lowest level since October 2008. Manufacturing continued to rebound and has now generated 93,000 jobs over the last six months. Construction experienced its largest month-to-month job growth since March 2007," Perez said.

Perez said that although it is a modest recovery, it is still a recovery. "President Obama isn't satisfied with a modest recovery. In his State of the Union address ten days ago, he laid out an agenda that would quicken the pace of economic growth and job creation, an agenda based on the principle of opportunity for all. Through hard work, anyone should be able to succeed in America, to realize their dreams and secure a foothold in the middle class,” the Secretary of Labor said.

As with any set of statistics released by the federal government, many Americans look for tangible ways to see the improvement that the numbers point out. The real sign for many workers will be the $10.10 cent minimum wage increase for federal contractors. Perez said that President Obama recently secured commitments from more than 300 companies to develop best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed. There are still 1.7 million Americans struggling to find a job. The hard part is not to give up looking for employment.

A public television and radio program used the taxpayer dollars spent to keep the station on the air to help workers find jobs in the 1970’s. The program was called Job Man Caravan and was hosted by ETV’s Bill Terrell. Many employed workers found jobs by watching the public paid program.

Job Man Caravan served the nation well then. A program to help unemployed workers find jobs would be a good use of taxpayer supported public radio and television today.