McNerney issues statement on jobless rate, WaMu layoffs

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, issued this statement today about California’s rising unemployment rate and the closure of a a Washington Mutual operations center in Pleasanton:

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that California’s unemployment rate has climbed to 8.2 percent – up half a percent from just last month.  This formal announcement comes on the heels of last night’s news that Washington Mutual will close a customer service operations center in Pleasanton, putting 1,200 people out of work.

In response, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) released the following statement.

“This morning we were greeted with more sobering economic news.  California’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.2 percent from 7.7 percent last month, a 2.5 percent increase from the same time last year.

“Additionally, Washington Mutual announced last night that it is laying off 1,600 employees in our region, including 1,200 at the company’s customer service operations center in Pleasanton, which it will close entirely.

“As we enter the holiday season, the timing for this announcement could not be worse.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are losing their jobs and all the resources my office can offer are available to any of my constituents who need assistance.

“Fortunately, just this morning, President Bush signed emergency House legislation to extend unemployment benefits for those who have exhausted their benefits, or will soon.  For Californians, it means another 13 weeks of unemployment benefits will be made available to help cushion the impact of job loss.

“I encourage any of my constituents who have questions about this extension, or need help filing for it, to contact my office in Stockton at (209) 475-8552 or in Pleasanton at (925) 737-0727 for assistance.

“Too many people are being hurt by this tough economic downturn, which is especially painful with the holidays approaching.  Nationally, more Americans are filing jobless claims than at any time since 1992.  And California now has the third highest unemployment rate of any state in the nation.  I commend the President for moving to extend unemployment benefits, but we need leadership in Washington to get our economy back on track.

“We must address the spate of home foreclosures that devastate families, destabilize communities, and have served as the root cause of the global economic downturn.  Economists from across the political spectrum agree that we need comprehensive economic recovery legislation to create new jobs by investing in our aging infrastructure and helping states avoid deep cuts to critical services.  In fact, a determined effort to transition to a renewable and energy efficient economy and stop sending billions of our dollars overseas for oil would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in California alone.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen