Sam Graves
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On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported more disappointing news. The economy created only 96,000 jobs in August, the unemployment rate remains above 8 percent, and more than 350,000 Americans have dropped out of the work force. While some may focus on the jobs that were created last month, this jobs report is nothing but horrendous. I welcome any jobs, but American workers giving up on employment in the weakest recovery since the Great Depression is cause for alarm, not celebration.

The unemployment rate has not fallen below 8 percent for the past 43 months. The labor force participation rate is at the lowest level in 31 years. If the labor force participation rate were at the same level it was before the recession started, the unemployment rate would be 11.6 percent today. And the rate of “underemployment” or “real unemployment,” including the unemployed, those who want work but have stopped searching in this economy, and those who are forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment is actually at 14.7 percent. We're still experiencing a significant jobs crisis, whether President Obama recognizes it or not.

President Obama’s policies of more spending, more debt and more taxes haven’t worked. It’s way past time for a course correction. The country needs responsible leadership, not the President’s boasts over anemic growth and unending pleas for patience. Americans are looking for a sustained and real recovery. This weak report is nowhere near enough, and this has gone on long enough. Any real jobs plan must stop the regulatory madness and avert the fiscal cliff of tax increases on January 1. The health care law is yet another drag on the economy. Small businesses need tax relief and regulatory certainty to grow and hire.

The answer to creating jobs and jumpstarting the sluggish economy shouldn’t be a surprise. Small firms are the biggest job creators. Yet, the vital role small businesses play in economic growth is still overlooked. Together, these small firms consistently create 60 to 70 percent of new jobs, year after year, and employ more than half of the entire U.S. workforce at 27 million different places of business. That means we all have a vested interest in keeping that dynamic job creation going strong.

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Sam Graves

Congressman Sam Graves is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 6th congressional district, serving since 2001, and serves as the Chairman of the House Small Business Committee.