Rep. James Smith, Mayor Steve Benjamin and Councilwoman Tameika Devine gathered at Main and Gervais today to celebrate the latest employment figures.
Here’s a quote from the release that summoned me to the windswept presser (sorry about the sound quality):
When the President took office, we were losing more than 700,000 jobs a month. The economy was spiraling out of control, and the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans was vanishing. Now, the private sector has added more than 3.7 million jobs, the American auto industry and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports were saved, and manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s. But the President didn’t just address the immediate crisis and stop there. He began to lay a foundation for a stronger economy across the country so such a collapse can never happen again.
This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and we have a lot more to do if we’re going to continue the trend we’ve seen for the last two years. That’s why the President has outlined a vision for an America built to last. It’s a blueprint based on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers and a renewal of the American values that made our nation’s middle class the envy of the world – values like fairness and opportunity.
Mitt Romney and Republicans in South Carolina don’t share this vision. He doesn’t think we should invest in our workers, our students or American industries like carmakers and clean energy. He doesn’t think that we should be rewarding companies only when they bring jobs back to states all across the country, not when they send them overseas. And just as baffling, Romney and the Republicans don’t even admit that this reversal and recovery is happening.
Today, Democrats are embracing the fact that in January, unemployment plummeted to its lowest point in three years. Here’s a copy of the chart they’re standing next to. Meanwhile, some of their detractors are saying that a record number of people dropped out of the workforce that same month.
So I guess you pick the stats of your choice, according to your predilections.
For my part, I told James after the event, all I know is that Obama was inaugurated, and six weeks later, I was laid off. I guess that makes me a tough audience.
But seriously, folks, whoever can claim credit, I’m glad to see promising signs, and look forward to when everybody’s doing as well as they did before 2008.