PSN Statement: New Employment Report Underscores Need for States to Advance Jobs Measures

New York, NY – Progressive States Network Executive Director Ann Pratt issued the following statement today following the release of today’s jobs report showing the economy adding 233,000 private sector jobs and losing 6,000 public sector jobs in the month of February:

Today’s jobs report shows a continuation of the same trend we’ve been seeing in recent months: private sector job growth that shows signs of holding steady, countered by public sector job stagnation that remains one of the most significant drags on the recovery. In addition, today’s numbers show private sector job growth highly concentrated in lower-wage service industries that offer little real economic security. With conservatives in Congress continuing to block even the most modest federal job creation efforts, these numbers underscore the need for states to take the lead in creating quality jobs and ensuring that the still-fragile recovery gains momentum – and that’s exactly what progressive leaders are doing in state legislatures across the nation.

In 2012 sessions, progressive state lawmakers have been advancing common-sense, effective, broadly popular policies to make sure that states continue to create, grow, and save jobs. These include bills like Buy American legislation to ensure state taxpayer dollars are put to use creating jobs here at home, not on companies that ship jobs overseas, and that will aid in revitalizing the manufacturing sector. They also include efforts like raising the minimum wage to boost state economies, which is currently being considered by a number of states.

In addition, progressive state legislators are continuing to take the lead in fighting for responsible solutions to revenue crises that will avoid more of the type of devastating budget cuts we have seen result in the layoffs of over 668,000 teachers, firefighters, cops, and public sector employees since the beginning of the Great Recession.  As Paul Krugman noted this week, if it weren’t for these deep and unwise cuts at the state and local level over the past three years, the unemployment rate would likely be lower now than it was during a comparable stage of the recovery following the recession in the 1980s.

Through advancing policies including the ones above and others outlined in Progressive States Network’s Blueprint for Economic Security 2012, states across the nation can ensure that we continue to move forward and that the progress we’ve seen in jobs numbers in recent months continues until every family in every state sees and feels the economic recovery.

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