PERCEPTION OF IMPROVING ECONOMY DAMPENED BY POOR JOBLESS FIGURES
By Steven Tavares
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On the heels of unexpectedly poor national unemployment numbers, East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee appealed to leaders of the House Republic majority help the millions still reeling from the effects of the worst economy in generations.
|Rep. Barbara Lee|
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released jobless figures showing a scant increase of 54,000 net jobs in May and pushing up the percentage of unemployed back up to 9.1 percent. News of the middling job figures puts a dampen on a general feeling the worse is behind us economically.
“While the overall economy may be showing signs of improvement, too many people are unable to find work and millions are still feeling a great deal of pain," said Lee. Unemployment is still unacceptably high among minorities, which make up a large number of Lee's congressional district. The rate for African-Americans stands at 16.2 percent, with Latinos at 11.9 percent. Nearly a quarter of all young adults are unable to find work, according to Lee. In Alameda County, joblessness still sits around 11 percent for most of its cities.
Lee criticized the Republican leadership for failing to put legislation authored by her and Louisiana Rep. Bobby Scott up for a vote. The bill would reinstate unemployment checks for millions of Americans, known as '99ers, who have exhausted their allotted number of weeks of benefits.
She also reiterated her belief in a meeting yesterday with President Obama for the need to protect programs to help alleviate the pain many are feeling, including WIC, food stamps and job training.
“The extreme Republican agenda of paying for tax cuts for millionaires and subsidies for oil companies on the backs of the low-income and the poor is hurting millions of people in a very real way," said Lee. "This jobs report should serve as a stark reminder that Republicans need to work with us and get serious about creating jobs, fostering new economic opportunities and providing pathways out of poverty.”