THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 6, 2009
Statement by the Secretary of Labor Regarding the Monthly Employment Situation Report
"Today we learned that our economy lost another 651,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent. 4.4 million Americans have now lost their jobs since this recession began last year, and there are now nearly 3 million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or more.
This data does not just represent abstract statistics. Rather it illustrates the struggles of millions of Americans who do not know how they will raise their families, or pay their bills and mortgages. They are the central focus of this Administration’s economic policies, and why we are moving swiftly and aggressively to jumpstart job creation and grow our economy.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama and I have already moved to increase unemployment insurance benefits and to extend the duration of unemployment insurance. In addition, I am announcing today that the Labor Department is making available more than 3 and a half billion dollars to states for education, training and reemployment services.
We will continue to do whatever is necessary to break the destructive cycle of job loss in this country and put Americans back to work. That includes our plans to re-start lending for consumers and small businesses, help responsible homeowners pay their mortgages and re-finance their homes, and address the long-term economic challenges we face—including the high cost of health care, our dependence on oil, and the state of our schools.
From the day this Administration began, we knew that solving the economic crisis we were presented with would not be easy and would not happen overnight. But the President and I believe that this nation has both the resources and the will to meet this challenge and emerge stronger and more prosperous than before."