WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), discussed the current employment situation and economic outlook in a hearing today with Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Erica L. Groshen. Klobuchar said that while job gains averaged 182,000 every month in 2013 and the economy is showing signs of improving, the December jobs report that was released today shows that there is still more work to do. Non-farm payroll employment increased by 74,000 jobs in December and the national unemployment rate fell from 7.0% to 6.7%.
Klobuchar urged her colleagues in Congress to pass legislation to extend federal unemployment insurance and focus on bipartisan initiatives to move the economy forward, such as boosting exports and strengthening workforce training and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.
“Our economy made progress throughout 2013, averaging 182,000 jobs created every month,” Klobuchar said. “But there’s no question that we have more work to do, and in the new year we must rededicate ourselves to polices that not only allow businesses to create good jobs but also give people the tools they need to succeed in the workforce, from strengthening science and math education to extending critical unemployment insurance that helps people pay their rent and fill their gas tanks while they look for work.”
Throughout the hearing, Klobuchar emphasized the continued importance of the federal unemployment insurance program, a critical lifeline for America’s long-term unemployed. Federal benefits expired for 1.3 million Americans on December 28th and, barring congressional action, will expire for 3.6 million more in 2014. Klobuchar is a cosponsor of The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, bipartisan legislation that would extend federal support for unemployment insurance for three months to give Congress more time to reach agreement on a longer-term extension. Earlier this week, she released a report examining the impact of unemployment insurance on families and children.
Klobuchar also highlighted the need to pass legislation like the Innovate America Act, bipartisan legislation she introduced that would help increase the competitiveness of small-and medium-sized businesses by promoting and rewarding schools, technical colleges, and universities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math and removing red tape and reducing production costs for manufacturing businesses.