The White House responded to Friday’s news that employers eliminated 216,000 jobs in August, with unemployment rising from 9.4 percent to 9.7 percent, but continuing to emphasize the notion that things are getting better.
“When we took office back in January, job losses were staggering,” said Vice President Joe Biden during an event tied to the creation of green jobs. “We knew we had to act.”
The last time the economy lost so few jobs in this economic crisis was a year ago, Biden pointed out, with job loss peaking in January with the grim number of 741,000 Americans cut from the ranks of the employed.
“We’re making progress,” Biden said. Today’s number is “much too high but it’s roughly 2/3rds” what it was eight months ago.
Quoting Scottish author Samuel Smiles, Biden said, “hope is like the sun, as you journey to it cast the shadow of our burden behind it.”
The Vice President made a point of emphasizing that “less bad is not good. That’s not how President Obama and I measure success.” He said that he and the President would continue to work on economic recovery until everyone who wants a job has one.
Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pointed out that the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that “we continue to see a slowing of the pace of job loss.”
Gibbs said that the slowing of the pace of job loss was because of better news from the manufacturing sector, new home sales, and a doubling since February of consumer confidence. The stimulus package is “creating an economic environment” where this recovery is possible, he said.
“We’re still at the point that we’re losing more jobs than we’re creating,” Gibbs said, so the administration’s focus on economic recovery would continue.
Biden was speaking via a teleconference to employees of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, Inc., in Fremont, California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Energy Secretary Steven Chu were announcing stimulus finding for a solar plant. Biden heralded the environmental jobs being created, quoting Galileo Galilei, who said, “the sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do.”