Congresswoman Renee Ellmers released the following statement from her office in Washington this morning:
"Today's unemployment figures are deeply disheartening and show that our economic situation is not getting the full attention it deserves. People are struggling to make ends meet and worrying as to whether their business will be the next to hand out pink slips. Small businesses are seeing their budgets busted by high energy costs and uncertainty that currently exist in the market due to higher taxes and inflation. In my own state of North Carolina, the unemployment rate is higher than the national average at a 9.7 percent."
Congresswoman Ellmers continued, citing energy prices and the lack of focus coming from the White House and Senate on this issue:
"As many of the initial stories on this morning's unemployment report noted, rising gas prices have had an alarming effect on prices and transportation fees. As these prices have continued to rise, I along with my House colleagues have been pleading with President Obama to end the drilling moratorium and allow this home-grown energy enter the market and drive the price down. But President Obama and the Senate Leadership have refused to allow this plentiful supply help relieve demand and lower our energy prices. This is inexcusable. We must go after any and all forms of energy to decrease our reliance on foreign oil, especially when we have it available here. The time to act is now and I call on President Obama and Senator Reid to work with Congress to make this happen."
This morning, the Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent - the highest in several months and up from 8.8 percent in March. Even with the increase of 244,000 jobs in the past month, the new figures come as a surprise and point to much-needed support for small business and decisions on future economic policy before stable growth resumes.