Friday, February 06, 2009

Delay in the Senate

This morning’s jobs report, and the out-of-work Americans the numbers represent, will hopefully prompt the Senate to move urgently to provide a stimulus package with the speed and scope desperately needed by our country. We learned today that in January, American job losses totaled 598,000—the worst month of job losses since 1974, and the 13th straight month of job losses.

Delay and dissent are not helping. I absolutely want the best, most thoughtful package passed —but the preening for the cameras and partisan posturing does not serve our constituents. America needs action and we need it now.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, is quoted on the front page of the KC Star today. The article reads: “After bottoming out in early 2009, hiring will pick up through at least 2012,’ Zandi said. ‘Without a big federal stimulus program, though, he warned that projected unemployment could hover near 11 percent throughout 2010.”

This is the same Mark Zandi who estimates that the stimulus package will create and save nearly 4 million American jobs by the end of 2010.

The full text of Mr. Zandi’s stimulus analysis can be found here:

I do not believe getting this package done right and getting it done now are mutually exclusive. America is hurting; it is to time act.


JOB LOSSES: In January, American job losses totaled 598,000 – the worst month of job losses since 1974 and the 13th straight month of job losses. Total job loss since the recession began in December 2007 has climbed to 3.6 million, the largest 13-month job loss on record (series began in 1939). About one-half of this decline occurred in the past 3 months.

BROAD RANGE OF INDUSTRIES IMPACTED: Factories slashed 207,000 jobs in January, the largest one-month drop since October 1982. Construction companies got rid of 111,000 jobs. Professional and business services chopped 121,000 positions. Retailers eliminated 45,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality services axed 28,000 slots.

UNEMPLOYMENT & PART-TIME WORK: In January, the unemployment rate surged to 7.6 percent -- the highest level in 16 years – up from 4.7 percent in 2007. The number of Americans looking for work climbed to 11.6 million in January – 4.1 million more than a year ago, and the highest number in 26 years. An additional 3.1 million Americans have been forced into part-time work in the last year.

LAYOFFS: Leading American companies (including those at Macy’s, Caterpillar Inc., pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Sprint Nextel Corp., and Home Depot) continue to announce layoffs -- with more than 70,000 workers layoffs announced in one day.

ECONOMY IN RECESSION: This winter, the Gross Domestic Product fell 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008 – the largest contraction since the steep recession of the early 1980s. Business investment dropped at a 19 percent pace, the most since 1975. The U.S. economy has officially been in recession since December 2007, already making it the longest downturn since 1981-82. Analysts say this downturn could be the most severe since the Great Depression.

CONSUMER SPENDING & CONFIDENCE: Consumer spending fell in December for a record sixth consecutive month, capping the worst year since 1961. Consumer confidence slid to another all-time low in January.