Congresswoman Lee Releases Statement on January Jobs Report

Oakland, CA – Today, the Department of Labor announced that unemployment had fallen to 4.9 percent and 151,000 U.S. jobs were added in January. This growth marks the 71st consecutive month of private sector job growth. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity released this statement:

“Today’s job report shows continued progress in our economic recovery. January marked the 71st consecutive month of private sector job growth. This historic growth illustrates that President Obama’s policies are working as our economy continues to recover from the Great Recession.

In particular, I was pleased to see a decrease in the Latino unemployment rate from 6.3 percent to 5.9 percent. Despite this decrease, the Latino unemployment rate is still higher than the unemployment rate of white Americans (4.3 percent).

There are also deeply troubling elements in today’s report. The African American unemployment rate increased 0.5 percent to 8.8 percent. The unemployment rate for African Americans is now more than twice the rate of white Americans (4.3 percent).

As our economy recovers, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Congress must act to address persistent poverty and unemployment, especially in communities of color, by creating good-paying jobs, expanding investments in workforce training and our nation’s vital infrastructure and raising the minimum wage while working towards a living wage.”


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.