The White House and Congressional Democrats Friday cited new unemployment figures as a sign of the country's continued economic improvement.
The 155,000 monthly increase in non-farm payrolls, which matched the expectations of most economists, shows that the economy is continuing to heal, White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Krueger said in a statement Friday.
"While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Krueger said. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession."
Krueger also cited the progress made in averting most of the tax increases of the so-called fiscal cliff as providing greater certainty in the marketplace.
"Additionally, unemployment insurance was extended for two million Americans who are searching for a job, and companies will continue to receive tax credits for the research that they do and continue to have tax incentives to accelerate investment in their businesses," he said.
Krueger added, "It is important that we continue to move toward a sustainable federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending while protecting critical investments in the economy and essential support for our most vulnerable citizens."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also hailed the continuing improvement in the unemployment situation while noting that the economic recovery will not yet be a reality for many Americans still searching for work.
He also warned Congressional Republicans against risking a potential default on U.S. debt if the nation's debt ceiling is not increased swiftly.
"To keep our recovery going, we need to avoid another knock-down, drag-out fight over whether to default, or to pay our nation's existing bills," Reid said. "Republicans are threatening to once again hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage in order to force cuts to Social Security and Medicare."
He added, "If our recovery is to take off, we must forego this kind of reckless, partisan brinksmanship, and work together to find solutions that work for the middle class."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that the report highlights the start of the new Congress as an opportunity for Congressional leaders to work together to strengthen the economy.
"As we enter the new Congress, Americans are calling on us to search for common ground," Pelosi said. "Upcoming debates should not be used as an opportunity for political brinksmanship that simply serves to undermine consumer confidence, jeopardize job growth, weaken our economy, and risk the economic security of the middle class."
She added, "Only together will we be able to create jobs, spur our prosperity, bolster our middle class, and achieve progress for the American people."
by RTT Staff Writer
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