February's unemployment rate falling to 8.9 percent is a good start but workers remain insecure about re-entering the work force, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the unemployment rate in February was its lowest level in almost two years and down from January's 9 percent rate.
"These numbers are very positive. They are extremely positive, especially the large amount of job creation," Furchtgott-Roth tells Newsmax.TV.
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The government reports that 192,000 jobs were created last month.
But she said too few workers are jumping back into the job market due in part to government heavy handedness.
"On the other hand it's a little bit disappointing that the labor force participation rate remained at 64.2 percent. This is the same level that we had in 1984, and it means that workers still are not confident enough to get back into the labor force," says the senior fellow at Hudson Institute, where she directs the Center for Employment Policy.
"This is a good start but we need more improvement," says the former chief economist for the Labor Department under President George W. Bush.
The Obama administration's increased role in private business affairs isn't helping.
Fresh government measures such as imposing mandatory arbitration on newly unionized firms, costly new healthcare requirements plus fears of higher energy costs stemming from cap and trade bills are keeping business owners focusing on cutting expenses and away from looking over resumes.
"All that contributes to lack of hiring," Furchtgott-Roth says.
Oil prices, meanwhile, are on the rise and that's also going to affect the labor market, as more money spent on gasoline means less spent elsewhere, which is what the economy needs to create more jobs.
"The most direct impact is they take more money out of people's paycheck, so they have less money to spend on other things," she said.
"That impedes economic recovery. It's a bit like a tax."
The problem is preventable to a degree, Furchtgott-Roth says, as the U.S. has oil and natural gas reserves in its territory to help meet demand and lower energy prices.
Translation: the country needs more exploration and production, but the government is not helping.
"Last week the administration issued just one permit for deep water drilling since April 2010. And there are many permits on hold," Furchtgott-Roth says.
Furthermore, unionized workers in the public sector, especially in Wisconsin, need to understand the need to sacrifice in order to right fiscal deficits.
"What is clear is that [Governor] Scott Walker is trying to deal with a $3.7 billion deficit he has over the next two years. He's asking union workers to pay 6 percent of their paychecks for pension and about 12 percent to health insurance, way below what many private-sector workers pay right now."
"Governor Walker is to be congratulated as is Governor (John) Kasich of Ohio and Governor (Chris) Christie of New Jersey for trying to take matters into their own hands and protect the taxpayers in their states from undue tax increases caused by ballooning pension underfunding and also wage and salary increases of public-sector workers."
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