What We’re Doing for the 8.7 Million Still Unemployed

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly report on the status of the American workforce. The report outlines how many Americans remain unemployed, the status of wages, and how many people are part of the labor force.

The good news from the December report? 252,000 jobs were added, and the unemployment rate went down to 5.6%.

The bad news? Unfortunately these numbers are even larger.

  • 8.7 million Americans remain unemployed and the number of the long-term unemployed (those who have been searching for work over 27-weeks) remained essentially unchanged.
  • Wages decreased on average by 5 cents. The New York Times calls this information “the big disappointment” of the report. 2014 saw very little change in hourly wages across the country, despite the consistently rising costs of every day items.

  • The size of the labor force fell by 273,000. These are people who have dropped out of the labor force completely — potentially giving up on the job search completely (mathematically, this also helps lower the unemployment rate).

As December’s jobs report shows there’s a lot of work left to be done. Way too many Americans remain unemployed, and even more are stuck with stagnant wages — no wonder that 273,000 people gave up — that’s some pretty dismal news.

And while this isn’t the type of New Year start that Americans need — there is some good news.

This week was the first week of the 114th Congress — and America’s New Congress got to work. House Republicans passed three bills that will grow our economy from the ground up, helping those who need it most — the 8.7 million job-seeking Americans, and the families who are trying to live off of weak wages.

The Hire More Heroes Act of 2015 was one of the first actions of the 114th Congress, and is aimed at helping some of our most important job-seekers: veterans. By eliminating the portion of Obamacare that unnecessarily requires small businesses to provide health care for veterans that already covered through VA or TRICARE, countless economic opportunities are created. Veterans will see a boom in employment possibilities, and small businesses around the country are able to grow, hiring the hard-working veterans they desire.

Next up, House Republicans passed the Save American Workers Act of 2015, repealing the harmful 30-hour rule within Obamacare that slashes hours and wages for thousands of Americans. This bill ensures the higher wages that so many American need, and helps hard working Americans bring home a bigger paycheck to their families.

Finally, and for the 10th time, the House voted to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. This solution has innumerable benefits — job creation of over 42,000, lower energy costs at home, and decreased dependency on foreign oil. After a dismal December job report, the Keystone XL Pipeline is the type of solution America needs.

While the employment numbers weren’t pretty, House Republicans remain hopeful. The solutions we passed this week are just the start of what America’s New Congress is going to achieve in the coming year. We have heard the American people’s concerns loud and clear — and we are motivated to find solutions to their problems. The best part? We have only just begun.