March Job Numbers: Millions Still Unemployed and Underemployed

April 05, 2013

Cuts to Workforce Development Impacting Workers and Employers

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor released the monthly jobs report for March. Employers added only 88,000 jobs during the month, the lowest monthly gain since last June. Nearly 500,000 workers left the workforce, leaving the labor market participation rate the lowest since 1979 despite nearly 3.6 million jobs that are open but go unfilled, in part, because employers can’t find workers with the skills to fill them. 

The following quote regarding the March jobs report can be attributed to Rachel Unruh, associate director for National Skills Coalition:

“Today’s job report is discouraging. Many men and women looking for work have given up hope in finding a job. However, we could get many more people back into the workforce if we invested in the skills of our workers. Unfortunately, Congress has not made workers a priority and instead has disinvested in programs that help get people back to work.

Over the past three years, Congress has cut funding for employment and training programs by more than $1 billion, forcing programs to scale back the services they provide. To make matters worse, the sequester that went into effect last month will further cut workforce programs and services by over $450 million this year, resulting in nearly two million fewer workers getting the training and support they need.

These cuts will be devastating for workers like Yasmeen, a single mother in northern California who had been a victim of domestic abuse. While living in a women's shelter with her two toddlers, she participated in a workforce training program at Jewish Vocational Service where she learned skills to obtain a job as a clinic coordinator at the University of California-San Francisco. Congress must make America’s workers its top priority and invest in programs that get workers back to work and into good paying jobs to support their families.”