PARKERSBURG - While the White House says an employment report shows the economy continues to improve, West Virginia's Republican representatives Friday said otherwise.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday announced private sector businesses added 95,000 jobs in March with total non-farm payroll employment rising by 88,000 jobs. February and March employment numbers also were revised upward by 61,000 jobs.
It's the 37th straight month the private sector has added jobs, about 6.5 million in that period, according to Alan B. Krueger, President Barack Obama's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
"It is important to bear in mind that the March household and payroll surveys are the first monthly surveys to look at employment since the beginning of sequestration," Krueger said in a statement. "While the recovery was gaining traction before sequestration took effect, these arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come and will cut key investments in the nation's future competitiveness."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates about 750,000 full-time jobs will be cut because of the automatic cuts to federal spending to reduce the deficit by the end of the year, Krueger said.
The economy is stagnant, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said in a statement.
The civilian labor force declined by 496,000 jobs over the month and the labor force participation rate decreased to 63 percent, the lowest rate since 1979, McKinley said citing statistics from the bureau.
"Just last month half a million Americans gave up hope and left the work force," McKinley said. "With 23 million Americans still looking for work, this slow recovery is unacceptable. Congress and the President need to focus on pro-growth solutions that will put Americans back to work.
"The president's failed economic policies are not working and they're causing our economy to remain stagnant," McKinley said. "The weak jobs number released today is further evidence."
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the latest numbers spell trouble for the "nation's flagging economy." Hundreds of thousands have left the work force and unemployment claims increased for the third consecutive time last week, she said.
"Today's report is a clear sign that the president's economic policies aren't working. His stimulus spending plan failed to create the jobs that were promised and destructive regulations are standing in the way of job growth," she said. "And sadly, the president's anti-energy policies are preventing energy-rich states like West Virginia from creating jobs."
More work remains, but the report shows the economy continues to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Krueger said.
"It is critical that we continue the policies that are helping to build an economy that creates jobs and works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007," he said.
Unemployment fell from 7.7 percent in February to 7.6 percent in March, the lowest since December 2008. The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.3 percent in March, he said.
"Now is not the time for Washington to impose more self-inflicted wounds on the economy. The administration continues to urge Congress to replace the sequester with balanced deficit reduction, while working to put in place measures to put more Americans back to work like rebuilding our roads and bridges and promoting American manufacturing," Krueger said.
The bureau reported March employment rose 51,000 in in professional and business services, 44,000 in education and health services, 18,000 in construction and 17,000 in leisure and hospitality. The retail trades lost 24,100 jobs in March, following eight months of growth.
Construction has added 169,000 jobs since September.