Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), chaired by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), released the 2011 Joint Economic Report, which provides an overview of the state of the U.S. economy during 2011.
Mandated by the 1946 Employment Act, the JEC’s annual report examines the economic recovery in 2011 and highlights the challenges that remain for the economy and for workers. Given the modest GDP growth during the recovery and continued weakness in the labor market, the report notes that fiscal policies— such as reauthorizations of the 2011 payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits—and continued easing in monetary policy are needed to boost aggregate demand.
“The 2011 JEC annual report lays out the progress the economy has made recovering from the Great Recession, but also shows that the progress isn’t happening fast enough for millions of Americans who remain unemployed,” said Chairman Casey. “I’m hopeful that Congress will soon pass legislation that extends the payroll tax cut for everyone who gets a paycheck and continues unemployment insurance for jobless workers who count on these benefits to make ends meet.”
The 2011 Joint Economic Report shows that this year was characterized by only modest progress in the recovery of labor markets. Since the end of 2010, the unemployment rate has dropped by 0.8 percentage point, with some of that decline resulting from discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force rather than obtaining jobs. Long-term unemployment remains one of the defining characteristics of the recovery, with over forty percent of unemployed workers having been jobless for at least six months.
Casey continued, “We’ve only recovered about one-third of the private-sector jobs lost during the recession. Congress must continue to provide assistance to working families hit hard by the recession, help businesses trying to expand, and create the best environment for job creation. Washington needs to focus on policies that boost near-term economic activity and employment, while also taking actions to get our fiscal house in order in the medium- and longer-term.”
To read the entire report, click here.