The addition of 120,000 jobs to America's economy in March marks the twenty-fifth straight month of increased private sector employment despite the unwillingness of House Republicans to work across the aisle on a Transportation Bill and other substantive efforts to encourage economic growth, Congressman Tim Bishop said today.
The national jobs number follows a recent report from the NY State Labor Department that Long Island’s private sector added 20,800 jobs in February compared with February 2011, the strongest monthly job increase since 2007. The strongest growth occurred in the professional and business-services category, which gained 9,800 jobs in February. The biggest decline came in the construction sector, which shed 1,600 jobs.
Last month, Bishop introduced the MAP-21 transportation plan, which previously passed the Senate on a bipartisan 74-22 vote, for consideration in the House. Despite estimates that MAP-21 will save 1.8 million jobs and create up to 1 million more, House Republican leaders refused to bring it to a vote and chose instead to increase uncertainty for states and construction crews by extending current transportation programs for 90 days, the ninth extension in two years.
"Construction season is here, but the industry is stuck in neutral and millions of jobs in the construction industry are in limbo due to the House GOP's unwillingness to accept a bipartisan path forward," said Congressman Bishop. "They are responsible for another missed opportunity to help the economy now by investing in America's future, as is clear from Long Island’s recent decline in construction jobs."
Bishop said the that the Budget adopted last week by House Republicans would hinder America's economic competitiveness by slashing investments in education and infrastructure, as well as research in science, medicine, and technology. Bishop noted that advanced research facilities at Brookhaven National Lab are used extensively by private companies developing new technologies for commercial applications.
"Those who claim that public investment stymies American ingenuity and competitiveness ignore our history, from the construction of the Erie Canal to the dynamic public-private partnerships at Brookhaven National Lab," said Bishop. "The American people believe that government can and should help lay the foundation for private sector economic and job growth. They also understand that vital role cannot be accomplished simply by cutting taxes."
If adopted, the budget's sharp spending cuts would also lead to significant job losses by reducing aggregate demand in the economy. Using a standard macroeconomic model that is consistent with that used by private- and public-sector forecasters, The nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute projected that adoption of the GOP budget would result in roughly 4.1 million jobs lost through 2014.
Bishop added: "We have seen improvement in economic conditions since President Obama's policies have had time to take effect, but that improvement will be short lived if the GOP forces a turn away from what have traditionally been bipartisan priorities: educating our children, improving our infrastructure, and accomplishing as a nation what we cannot accomplish as individuals."