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April jobs report shows American Rescue Plan is working

Photo credit: Getty
By AFSCME Staff ·

The employment report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a gain of 39,000 jobs in state and local governments last month, an uptick that would not have been possible without the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The landmark legislation signed by President Joe Biden in March is already benefitting communities across the country. AFSCME members pushed Congress through their union to approve the law because we knew the measure was vital to powering the nation’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Although we still have a long way to go to regain the more than 1.2 million state and local government jobs that have been lost since the pandemic began, the positive jobs numbers are a continuation of a trend that shows the economy moving in the right direction.

As AFSCME President Lee Saunders put it after the previous month’s jobs report showed strong employment gains, the turnaround we’re experiencing “is powerful evidence of the good government can do when we elect competent, disciplined, compassionate leaders to run it.”

Yet more needs to be done.

The ARP has already brought much-needed relief to working families across the country and includes $350 billion in direct aid to states, cities and towns. This robust investment will help protect and bring back public sector jobs, while maintaining and improving public services in our communities.

The coronavirus pandemic has cost more than half a million lives, and the economic devastation it has wrought is unlike anything seen since the Great Depression. That is why, to build back better, as Biden has promised, we need to do more.

Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for an historic investment in American infrastructure that would create millions of good-paying jobs. His American Families Plan would continue the ARP’s historic reductions in child poverty by expanding access to child care and lowering health insurance premiums, among other things.

Congress also needs to approve the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would strengthen federal labor law to protect workers organizing to form a union. And it needs to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would set a minimum nationwide standard of collective bargaining rights that all states must provide to state and local workers. Providing workers with a voice on the job will empower them to advocate for their communities – and strengthen the economy in the process.

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