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House Dems: New Jobless Numbers Underscore Need for More COVID Relief

November 6, 2020 by Dan McCue
House Dems: New Jobless Numbers Underscore Need for More COVID Relief
A customer wears a face mask as they carry their order past a now hiring sign at an eatery in Richardson, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

WASHINGTON – Employers added 638,000 jobs in the month of October, pushing the national unemployment rate down to 6.9%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

But Congressional Democrats noted the pace of renewed hiring isn’t nearly enough to quickly get the millions of Americans thrown out of work by the coronavirus pandemic back on their feet.

As of Friday, the nation now has 10.1 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic intensified in March.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the October jobs report shows, “this crisis continues to escalate as the impact of the initial Congressional relief runs out and hard-working families suffer. 

“With millions more Americans stuck in long-term unemployment, a million fewer teachers and education jobs compared to a year ago, nearly 8 million people having fallen into poverty and up to 17 million children food insecure, we must crush the virus and protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people,” she said.

The October increase in jobs suggests the nation’s slow recovery continues despite a recent surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the mid-section of the country.

But the increase was below the 672,000 new jobs created in September and way down from the 1.5 million created in August.

The Labor Department also noted that the decline in the unemployment rate was somewhat buffeted by the end of some 150,000 temporary U.S. Census jobs.

Excluding the government, businesses added 906,000 jobs.

Job growth was particularly strong in construction, retail, and the category that includes restaurants and hotels.

In a statement of his own, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said while the American people have been waiting for days now to learn who the next president will be, those adversely affected by the pandemic “have been waiting far longer to see the kind of rapid economic rebound that President Trump and his advisors have been promising since the beginning.”

“The October jobs report confirms yet again that such a turnaround is not happening and that the negligence of his administration and the Republican-led Senate and their failure to agree on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation is having real economic ramifications,” Hoyer continued. “We must take action to lower the rate of infection and make it safer for businesses to reopen so we can begin to see the kind of recovery our economy needs.”

Though the economy rebounded during the summer, that recovery was aided by businesses, like restaurants, that took advantage of the warmer weather and moved their services and seating outside.

Economists and business-owners fear those entities will struggle anew when the weather turns colder.

At the same time, the economy is under increased pressure from a resurgent coronavirus, which is causing new government-imposed shutdowns in some areas.

On Thursday, the nation broke another record in the seven-day rolling average for new cases, hitting nearly 90,000. Daily new cases were also on track for another day above 100,000, with surging numbers reported all around the country, including a combined nearly 25,000 in Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Hoyer said he continues to urge Sen. McConnell and the White House to reach agreement with the House on a COVID-19 relief package that helps the nation’s workers and businesses “get through this crisis and make it to the other side.” 

“While our jobs rebound continues, its pace has slowed,” Hoyer noted.

At the current pace of hiring, it would take until February 2022 to regain the jobs lost to the pandemic.

“Which is why the Democratic-led House acted again and again to provide relief to communities, families, and businesses and fund testing, tracing, and research into vaccines and treatments,” Hoyer said.

“It is imperative that Congress and the White House agree on and enact a COVID-19 relief bill before the end of the year,” he continued. “The American people cannot wait until January for action.”

Pelosi said House Democrats “will continue working toward an agreement that crushes the virus, supports our heroes in state and local government and puts money in the pockets of the American people. 

“As we look toward the 117th Congress, Democrats will be working to create jobs and deliver bigger paychecks to all hard-working Americans, with bold investments in infrastructure with our Moving Forward Act to Build Back Better,” she said.

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