by Nate Jackson The latest report put out by the Department of Labor showed that 200,000 new jobs were created in the month of December. This was better than expected, but we still have over 5 million people who have been unemployed for over 27 weeks, the named “long term unemployed.” This is unacceptable and we have to keep pushing our elected officials and policy makers to make real change to kick this “recovery” into a higher gear. Here in Washington State from November of 2010 to November of 2011 we saw a gain of 59k jobs, but we are still tremendously short of the 205K jobs lost from the beginning of this Great Recession. There are still more people who have lost their jobs than gained and we are not even talking about what type of jobs people have accepted.
In fact, the latest National job report says that the fastest growing industry for jobs was in the courier and messenger services. 42,000 jobs were created, but it is mostly seasonal employment to coincide with the winter holiday shopping season. These jobs are probably temporary and will not lead us to economic security for our families. It’s like a spare tire. It will help in the short term, but you can’t keep driving on it for long.
Too many “experts,” policy makers and media treat the economy like it is just a game of numbers and expectations. When they see any improvement they dust off their hands and think the job is done.
But we know that it’s a different story in our communities. Some of us fall into the “employed” sections of the data, working multiple part time jobs with no benefits and relying on hope to keep our families healthy, but we are still struggling to decide which bills to pay this week.
Some of us are on the verge of exhausting our unemployment benefits, but still haven’t been able to find a good job and don’t know what we’re going to do next.
And some of us may feel lucky to have jobs, but don’t get the reliable hours or living wages we need. Then we’re left to scramble to find someone to watch the kids every time there’s a chance to work an extra shift.
So while there may be a few more jobs in December than there were the month before, we know it’s still too hard out there to find good work.
That’s why we need to take action to make the creation of good jobs the number one priority of our elected officials. We cannot just let the politicians pat themselves on the back for one month of good news. We have to make sure that we are making the investments we need to drive this economy towards a more stable, steady future.