Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement on the January jobs report showing a substantial increase of 243,000 jobs created in January.  This increase in jobs lowered the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, a decline for the fifth straight month. In the last 23 months, there have been 3.7 million private sector jobs added.

Rep. Engel called for passage of jobs legislation to further boost the economy and get even more Americans back to work.  In the last three months, payroll growth is averaging just over 200,000, and the trend is increasing – (after revisions) 157,000 in November, 203,000 in December, and 243,000 in January.  To view his comments from the House floor -

Rep. Engel said, “The recent trend towards job growth stands in stark contrast to the near-depression numbers of the Bush Administration.  The freefall inherited by President Obama was substantial, and was lessened with the stimulus passed in 2009.  In fact, the jobless rate is now the lowest it has been during the Obama Administration.  It would be most helpful if Congress could give it a hand with a jobs bill, and use these improved numbers as a springboard to a stronger economy.  The light at the end of the tunnel is within reach, and we are hopeful about cutting further into the massive job losses experienced during the last two years of the Bush Administration. 

“The House Republican Majority continues to refuse working with Democrats, or the President, on legislation to help create jobs. Instead it is fixated on an ideological agenda, not on helping middle and lower income families.  In fact, its frontrunner for the Presidential nomination is saying he doesn’t care about the very poor.  The news today, despite Gov. Romney’s thoughts, is good for the very poor, for middle-income families and for everyone in America. 

“However, too many Americans are out of work, and there are problems which could deflect our recovery (Europe’s financial crisis, natural disasters, Middle East tensions, etc).  The fact that we are talking about real gains in job growth is satisfying.  The first thing we can do to help is to extend the payroll tax cut so that 160 million Americans don't face a tax hike, and extend unemployment insurance to help those who are still struggling to find work.

“It would be constructive if Congressional Republicans decide to work with Democrats and the White House to boost job creation through a bipartisan jobs bill.  Unfortunately, they show little interest in doing so.”