Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following response to the figures released by the Department of Labor showing a slight decline in unemployment rates:
"Today's report shows that the unemployment rate continues to slowly trend downward. After gaining just 115,000 new jobs in April, the national unemployment rate remains high at 8.1%. We must target investment and focus our efforts at rapidly reducing unemployment, especially among those hardest hit which continue to be youth (24.9%), Hispanics (10.3%), and African Americans (13%), whose unemployment rate dropped one point from last month in today's report. Further, we must immediately invest in programs and projects that not only make our country better, but provide jobs for the 5.1 million people in this country who have been out of work for longer than 27 weeks and are struggling.
"The Department of Labor reports that nearly one million jobless workers will exhaust their benefits by the end of this month, another million by August, and another million by the end of the year. Nearly 3 million families will be abruptly cut off this year as emergency extensions of unemployment insurance run out and they find themselves with no income and nowhere to turn. Congress must be prepared to act to extend unemployment benefits for those who will exhaust their benefits. It is incumbent upon this Congress to ensure that our bridge is strong enough to deliver us all -- even the most vulnerable -- over these troubled waters.
"Over the last 486 days of GOP control in the House, Republican leadership has failed to enact any jobs measures or put forth any clear jobs agenda. Congress must enact President Obama's American Jobs Act and put people back to work. We must address the immediate needs of the long-term unemployed. I reiterate my call to Speaker Boehner to allow an up or down vote on H.R. 589, a bill I introduced that would provide fourteen weeks of benefits for those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are now off the books and in desperate need.
"Americans are waiting; Democrats have been prepared to act; and Republicans must join us in creating jobs and reigniting the American Dream for all."