By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Republican leaders are using labor force figures for October as fodder to reject President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package signed in Denver back in February.
Figures released by the Department of Labor and Employment on Friday state that the number of working Coloradans fell by 9,600 in October to 2,474,300.
Dick Wadhams, chair of the Colorado Republican Party, said the labor statistics indicate that Obama’s stimulus plan is failing.
“Nine months ago, President Obama promised he would bring jobs to the people of Colorado. Unfortunately, since President Obama passed his $787 billion stimulus legislation, more than 61,088 Coloradans have lost their jobs,” Wadhams said in a statement. “The Democrats’ reckless spending experiments have done nothing to stop these skyrocketing unemployment rates.”
Speaking of unemployment rates, Pat Waak, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, points out that Wadhams’ news release issued Friday failed to point out that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in October, the third consecutive monthly decline in unemployment and the lowest rate since January.
In fact, the continued decline in unemployment was called “very good news” by Donald J. Mares, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Waak said Wadhams is “spinning” the facts for his own political agenda.
“Dick tends to try to spin things in whatever direction he wants to, and I think that part of the job we all have is to make sure that the facts are out there,” she said.
Mares said that while the continued unemployment decline is encouraging news, the state still has a long way to go.
“While the continued decline in the unemployment rate is very good news and our economy is faring better than many other states, this remains a difficult time for many Coloradans,” he said. “We must continue to focus on assisting job seekers and employers to achieve a sustained recovery.”
Considering Colorado’s unemployment rate in October 2008 was 5.3 percent, the state most definitely has a long way to go.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in October, 3.3 percent higher than Colorado’s.
As for the number of working Coloradans falling 9,600 over the month, some explain that as being unemployed workers giving up, or people moving out of Colorado.
Waak says the public needs to have patience considering the massive economic “mess” the Obama administration inherited when Republican President George W. Bush left office.
“We may be impatient, but I think the fact of the matter is that people are better off because these dollars are coming into Colorado,” she said.
Gov. Bill Ritter has said if it weren’t for the estimated $7 billion Colorado is expected to receive in direct funding and tax relief, the state would be struggling to close much more than the $591 million budget shortfall that still needs to be addressed for next year.
In fact, Ritter said lawmakers would need to come up with another $500 million to $600 million to close the shortfall, and more than $1 billion over the next two years.
But Wadhams insists that the Obama administration’s stimulus plan is failing, and added that Democrats should focus less on their health reform plan and more on creating jobs.
“More than anything, the people of Colorado need jobs,” he said. “Instead of focusing on yet a new costly and reckless government-run health care experiment, Democrats should focus on creating much-needed jobs and turning our economy around.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters