Just 80,000 jobs were added in the U.S. economy in October and the official unemployment rate was 9 percent, almost unchanged from September’s 9.1 percent, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It was the fewest jobs added in four months and well below the 158,000 jobs added in September.

The economy needs to add 150,000 jobs each month just to keep up with the people entering the labor market.

“At this rate, the labor market will never start putting the backlog of 14 million unemployed back to work,” declared Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “In other words,” she said, “given the enormous scope of the unemployment problem, this minimal level of job creation will keep us mired in disastrously high unemployment.”

The government report comes a day after Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have put hundreds of thousands back to work rebuilding the nation’s deteriorating highways, bridges and roads. Only a few weeks earlier those same Senate Republicans killed legislation that would have put 400,000 teachers and first responders back to work or allowed them to stay on the job.

The two bills were originally part of one larger jobs bill proposed by President Obama. That bigger bill was also killed by Senate Republicans.

The Rebuild America Act that they blocked yesterday would have paid for the $50 billion to repair and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure by placing a small tax on millionaires and billionaires.

“Americans once again saw their senators curry favor with millionaires and billionaires who are being asked in this legislation to pay a little more so our economy can turn around,” declared Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department.  “Meanwhile, the Senate Republican response to the job crisis is a plan that centers on tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, the rollback of essential federal regulations – including Wall Street reform – and the repeal of health care reform.”

The issue of the wealthy not paying taxes to help fix the economy was doubly underlined yesterday when a new report showed that 30 of the nation’s biggest corporations paid absolutely no taxes for the last four years. The report, issued by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, included on the list of tax evaders Verizon, Honeywell International, General Electric, DuPont, Boeing, Mattel, Duke Energy and Wells Fargo, which also received a huge bailout during the same period.

“Today corporate tax loopholes are so out of control that most Americans can rightly complain that they pay more taxes than do the top corporations,” said the report co-authors, Robert McIntyre, Matthew Gardner, Rebecca Wilkins and Richard Phillips. “There are 280 corporations among the Fortune 500,” the authors continued, ” that received actual tax subsidies totaling $224 billion. This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare and create jobs.”



John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.