Solis: Unemployment data show progress, but still work to do

The slight drop in unemployment this month is encouraging, but White House officials are not yet ready to start "celebrating and jumping up and down," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stressed on Friday.

That decrease -- from 10.2 percent last month to 10 percent this month -- signifies the recovery act is having a positive effect, the secretary said. However, the labor market "still [has] ways to go," she added, as "the amount of people still looking for work... is very, very large."

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"This is one of the lowest number of job losses since the recession started," Solis told CNBC, adding, "We're going to continue on this notion that we have to do everything we can to help the financial markets... "

Solis specifically heralded growth in the green energy sector, which she said signified the "green energy movement is starting to take hold." She also explained the uptick in new hires in civil engineering suggested firms are ready to begin new construction projects -- another possible area for later job growth, especially as recovery funds begin to trickle in, Solis said.

"I'm very happy also that we see continued growth again in the health and education areas, but we know we have to do more," the secretary added.

Critics of the White House's recovery efforts, however, were quick on Friday to reject the Obama administration's tempered optimism.

Although the unemployment rate dropped, they said, more than 11,000 Americans still lost work over the past 30 days -- evidence that the recovery act is not working as intended, some Republicans asserted.

“Anyone who views today’s report as cause for celebration is out of touch with the American people, especially when Washington Democrats’ policies – whether it’s a government takeover of health care, a national energy tax, or ‘card check’ – are already costing jobs and will pile even more debt on our kids and grandkids," House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said in a statement.


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