Analysts expected Friday’s April jobs report to “deliver the strongest showing since August,” projecting that the U.S. economy added as many as a million jobs last month.
So when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday morning that the economy added just 266,000 jobs in April, experts and reporters scrambled to decipher and explain the massively underwhelming figures.
“If Biden intends to take this economic crisis seriously, he will include a $10 trillion investment over the next decade into the American Jobs Plan to end the unemployment crisis and put millions of people to work in good, union jobs.”
—Ellen Sciales, Sunrise Movement
But progressives argued that the disappointing report makes at least one thing clear: Much more stimulus is needed to repair the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and rebuild for a sustainable, more equitable future.
“It is time for [President Joe] Biden to pull us out of this economic spiral,” Ellen Sciales, press secretary for the youth-led Sunrise Movement, said in a statement Friday. “Jobs are not going to magically come back. We need action now.”
Sunrise is specifically calling on the president to dramatically expand the scope of his American Jobs Plan by bringing it into line with the goals of the THRIVE Act, legislation introduced last week by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). That bill proposes spending $10 trillion over the next 10 years to create millions of jobs, build out the nation’s renewable energy infrastructure, and transform U.S. care institutions.
Sciales said that “if Biden intends to take this economic crisis seriously, he will include a $10 trillion investment over the next decade into the American Jobs Plan to end the unemployment crisis and put millions of people to work in good, union jobs stopping the climate crisis.”
Biden “must” include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Markey’s Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) in the package and “call on Congress to swiftly pass it, creating good jobs for 1.5 million people across the country, while helping them put food on the table, revitalize their communities, and boost our economy,” Sciales continued. “Millions of people are out of work, and the unemployment rate is rising. The real risk isn’t doing too much—it’s doing too little.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, echoed that message in a tweet Friday, declaring, “We need the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan to go big and bold, rebuilding our economy and helping lift up our communities.”
“There’s just no question about it,” Jayapal added.
According to the new BLS report, the official unemployment rate ticked up slightly in April to 6.1% and the U.S. economy remains 8.2 million jobs short of the pre-pandemic level—figures that Democratic lawmakers cited as further evidence of the need for additional investment.
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