This morning's employment report, with 103,000 jobs created and an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, is a sign that the job market is still weak. One reason the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent was that many unemployed Americans simply dropped out of the labor force. The percent of Americans who say they are working or looking for work, declined from 64.5 percent to 64.3 percent, the lowest level since April 1984. Plus, the percent of the unemployed out of work for six months or more rose to 44.3 percent from 42 percent, practically a record since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started issuing data in 1948, showing that the long-term unemployed still don't have job opportunities.
Congress and the White House need to take concrete steps to encourage job creation.
First, repeal the upcoming job-killing mandate that employers with 51 or more workers pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker per year if they don't offer the right kind of health insurance -- this keeps firms small.
Second, allow firms to bring back foreign earnings to America without the current 35 percent tax, the highest in the industrialized world, and lower the tax to 5 percent.
Third, renew permits for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, so Gulf residents can get back to work after Deepwater.
Fourth, shelve the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to regulate carbon, which will raise energy costs and discouraging investment, until the economy improves.
Fifth, ratify pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, and initiate other agreements, so our exporting companies have markets and can hire more workers.
Examiner columnist Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.