Congresswoman Lee Response to October Jobs Report

Oakland, CA – Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity, released the following statement on the Department of Labor’s October Jobs Report. The report shows that the economy added 161,000 jobs in October; since early 2010, the economy has added 15.5 million new private sector jobs.

“Today’s job report shows that our economy continues to grow and create jobs under President Obama’s leadership. With more than 15.5 million new, private sector jobs created since early 2010, our recovery is strong, despite Republican obstructionism to any investments in American families.

I was especially pleased to see a marked decrease in the Latino unemployment rate after a significant spike last month. However, more work remains because the Latino unemployment rate (5.7%) is still more than a full point higher than the white unemployment rate (4.3%).

While this growth is positive, the Republican do-nothing Congress continues to endanger these gains while risking backsliding. Instead of working to support American families, Republicans have instead backed special interest and the super rich. Their consistent obstructionism is endangering the health of our economy and our democracy.

Congress’s Republican leadership cannot remain on the sidelines, too much work remains.

In particular, I am extremely concerned about the increase in the African American unemployment rate, for the second consecutive month. Today, the African American unemployment rate (8.6%) is twice the unemployment rate of white Americans (4.3%).

Clearly, much work remains to ensure that our economic recovery reaches all communities. When Congress returns after the election, we must focus on passing legislation that will strengthen the economic position of all families, including raising the minimum wage, expanding workforce training, closing the wage gap and investing in our crumbling roads and bridges.

The unemployment rate has fallen below five percent, we have come too far to allow Republican obstructionism and special interest to undo the progress we have made.”

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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 Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity.