The U.S. Labor Department reported on Aug. 3 that the nation gained 163,000 jobs in July, but it was not enough to lower the national unemployment rate, which rose a fraction from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
The employment gains, while encouraging, are well below what economists say is needed to put the nation’s economy on firm footing. The long-suffering construction industry knows this all too well.
“While today’s jobs report shows continued positive job growth, I continue to be greatly concerned with the stagnation of jobs in the construction industry; where the unemployment rate remains above 12 percent,” said AFL-CIO Building Trades Department President Sean McGarvey. “Given that scenario, as well as the enormous infrastructure challenges in our nation, it is nothing short of irresponsible for the U.S. Congress to take a month-long vacation at this juncture. Millions of Americans today continue to struggle to find employment, much less have the wherewithal to enjoy a vacation.
“For the past several weeks, the discussions in Washington, DC have primarily, and amazingly, revolved around the concerns for the perceived troubles of the wealthy – will they or will they not continue to receive generous tax cuts? In the meantime, the American Middle Class continues to find itself losing ever more hope and optimism that there are elected leaders who actually care about their plight.
“America has roads and bridges that need repair,” McGarvey continued. “We have national electrical grid that is stretched to the breaking point. We have public schools that are crumbling. And we need improvements to our air, rail and other public transportation systems. A recent report confirms that our nation needs to invest $250 billion a year over the next six years to rebuild our infrastructure, and yet, Congress today is seemingly more focused and concerned with birth certificates and contraception.”