Congresswoman Barbara Lee Calls for Greater Action to Address Unemployment

Oakland, CA – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement today after the Department of Labor announced that the economy added 142,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent.  With businesses adding 134,000 jobs, this marks the 54th consecutive month of private sector job growth.

“I am pleased to see further private sector job growth for the 54th consecutive month, and a drop in unemployment. Over the last year, our economy has added 1.3 million American jobs but more work remains.

These numbers indicate that our economy is recovering. However, the recovery remains asymmetric, with significantly higher unemployment rates continuing to affect African American and Latinos.

The unemployment rate of African Americans is still more than twice the unemployment rate of whites; the Latino unemployment rate is more than two full points higher than their white counterparts. As our economy continues to recover, we cannot leave these vulnerable communities behind.

To address these challenges, I have introduced the Pathways Out of Poverty Act (H.R. 5352) to implement proven policies that will create good paying jobs to lift American families out of poverty and into the middle class while strengthening the social safety net for those still struggling.

Additionally, I was also pleased to see a significant decline in the long-term unemployment by 192,000. The long-term unemployed account for 31.2 percent of all unemployed Americans. These numbers are not declining rapidly enough. It is imperative for Congress to renew unemployment insurance, a bridge over troubled water for more than 3 million hardworking Americans.”


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