Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following response to the figures released by the Department of Labor showing a rise in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent:
"Today, the Department of Labor released a mixed jobs report for July, adding 163,000 private sector jobs. While the July report marked the 29th consecutive month of private sector job growth, the overall unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent. Over the past two years approximately 4.5 million new private sector jobs have been created. Although the number of private sector jobs added in July was much better than for June (which was adjusted down to 64,000), the stagnant unemployment rate continues to be a major concern.
"African American joblessness is still unacceptably high at 14.1 percent and the nation is desperate for serious jobs plan -- one that will spur economic growth and accelerate job creation by strengthening the public sector, investing in our infrastructure, increasing job training efforts, and strengthening our safety net.
"The long-term unemployed did not fare much better, with 5.2 million people having been out of work for longer than 27 weeks (40.7 percent of the total unemployed) -- which does not include the 852,000 people who have become discouraged by the lack of available jobs. Any serious job plan must include extending unemployment benefits for those who have and will exhaust their benefits.
"Republicans in Congress have made it clear they only care about tax cuts for the richest Americans. This week, the Tea Party led House voted to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent while raising taxes on 25 million middle-class families by an average of $1,000. Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner has led the House for 570 dayswithout offering a jobs agenda, while pushing a budget that would cut almost $900 billion from America's investmentsin education, science and technology research and development, and transportation infrastructure -- the very things that help support a strong economy in the long run. We cannot afford more obstruction and gridlock. Together, we must invest in America's future and put Americans back to work."