Having just celebrated Labor Day, it seems to me that it’s time to focus on the well-being of our workers in this country. Unfortunately, the numbers are not encouraging. In fact, recent job reports continue to show that the economy is plodding along at a very sluggish pace. As you consider these reports, please remember that they are more than just numbers: they are real people facing real challenges each and every day. Perhaps you know some of them and perhaps you are one of those facing these very real challenges.
In order to create more opportunities for American workers, we’ve got to grow the economy. To me, that means the federal government needs to cut taxes, eliminate red tape, and reduce the national debt. And to that end, my House colleagues and I have passed more than 30 pieces of legislation to do just that. While these bills have gotten nowhere in the Senate so far, I encourage you to take a moment to visit http://www.gop.gov/jobs/ to consider the alternatives we have offered so far to get our economy back on track.
So instead of robust economic growth, we have more than 12 million folks out of work who are struggling to make house payments and car payments and have to buy groceries and clothes for their families. And even though the unemployment rate of more than 7 percent is lower than it was at the peak of the recession, the majority of the decline is due to people dropping out of the workforce rather than an increase in jobs. Since 2009, the average duration of unemployment has almost doubled from 20 weeks to nearly 36 weeks and there are simply too many people working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment.
Workers like you have heard a lot of rhetoric from the Administration, but the fact of the matter is that the president’s economic policies and promises have been hollow when it comes to the middle class. The most recent U.S. Labor Department statistics show median earnings have fallen 4 percent since the recession ended, after adjusting for inflation. Gas prices are up about 20 cents from a year ago and per capita disposable income has increased by only 2.3 percent since June 2009, well below the average for an economic recovery. You see, when people think of an economic recovery, manufacturing and construction often lead the way upwards but that has simply note been the case given the policies of the current administration. Since 2009, our country has lost more than 700,000 construction jobs and 592,000 manufacturing jobs.
These sobering numbers, along with the stories of economic struggle I hear from too many folks here in the 3rd District, are all clear evidence that our workers, our families and our businesses are suffering and need and deserve relief. With Labor Day in our rearview mirrors, we can’t lose sight of the road ahead for our workers and the families that depend on them. It is critical that by next Labor Day, we have some more encouraging news to celebrate and I will continue to fight for those policies that will help make that a reality.
As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website http://luetkemeyer.house.gov. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns.
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