Capito, McKinley again criticize job statistics

PARKERSBURG – Republican lawmakers from West Virginia Friday panned the news in a job report issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor that said 157,000 new jobs were added in January.

Private-sector jobs have increased 35 straight months, adding 6.1 million jobs over that period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s for January report. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 157,000 jobs last month, the agency said.

The economy is growing too slow, said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

“While I am pleased that the economy has added 157,000 jobs, our economy is not only growing too slowly, it’s actually shrinking for the first time in three years,” Capito said. “A lackluster economy should not be the new norm, and we cannot ignore the fact that 12 million of our neighbors want jobs but can’t find them.”

More needs to be done, but the employment report is evidence the economy is continuing “to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement from the White House. The recession started in December 2007, he said.

“Today’s report is a reminder of the importance of the need for Congress to act to avoid self-inflicted wounds to the economy,” he said. “The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending, and replaces the sequester, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

Capito, an announced candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014, pointed out the House has passed two budgets while the Senate has failed to pass a budget in more than three years. The last House budget cut spending by $4 trillion, she said.

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., called the news and a fourth quarter 2012 report on Gross Domestic Product troubling. GDP, which measures output of goods and services produced in the United States, decreased .1 percent in the fourth quarter, based on advance estimates by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“This news should not be a surprise to the hard working families of America,” McKinley said. “It’s just a confirmation of what we’ve heard all across the 1st District. Families are struggling and there are many who still can’t find work or are underemployed.”

McKinley blamed President Obama.

“President Obama and his liberal allies in Congress need to admit their policies have not worked; and in fact they’ve made things worse. In the private sector, companies can’t begin a turnaround until they admit they’ve made mistakes,” he said.