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LIUNA on January Jobs Report: Weak Recovery Demands Infrastructure Investment to Spur Growth

LIUNA on January Jobs Report: Weak Recovery Demands Infrastructure Investment to Spur Growth

Washington, D.C. (February 1, 2013) – According to today’s jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department, employers added 157,000 new jobs in January. The national unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged, edging up 0.1 percent to 7.9. The construction industry gained 28,000 jobs last month, but overall unemployment remains high for U.S. construction workers at 16.1 percent. Since January 2011, construction employment has grown by 296,000, with one-third of the gains occurring in the last 4 months. However, the January 2013 level of construction employment remains about 2 million below its previous peak in April 2006.

Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – issued the following statement about today’s jobs report:

“The addition of 157,000 new jobs is good news for the labor market but a far cry from the employment boom we need to end the unemployment crisis still gripping our economy and crippling the construction industry.

“Fundamentally, America is facing two problems, high unemployment and decaying infrastructure, both of which can be addressed by investing in our nation’s critical infrastructure systems at the rate needed to meet current demands.

“Modernizing America’s roads, bridges, highways, waterways and electrical systems will create good-paying jobs across the country, bringing unemployment down and wages up. In the long run, it will also drive down transportation costs for American households and businesses, boost consumer spending, reduce the deficit and make America more economically competitive in the global economy.

“Departing U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, predicted earlier this week that infrastructure investment would become a second term policy priority for Congress along the lines of immigration reform. For U.S. construction workers, this cannot happen soon enough. If lawmakers are serious about ending the unemployment crisis, they need to focus on infrastructure investment now and start building a stronger, safer and more productive America.”