Chairman Cleaver’s Statement on the Recent Unemployment Numbers
Washington, D.C. – Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement on the recent unemployment numbers:
“For the third straight month we have seen improvement in our nation’s overall unemployment, which gives us all hope that our economy is slowly but surely recovering. 200,000 jobs were added last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. However, African American unemployment rose again from 15.5 percent to 15.8 and African American teen unemployment continues to hover over 40%. We will never fully rebound or recover when a major segment of our nation’s population continues to struggle. More importantly, we cannot wait for opportunities to trickle down. The recent announcement of President Obama’s Summer Jobs Initiative could not have come at a more critical time. The Initiative will provide $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24, as part of the American Jobs Act’s Pathways Back to Work Fund. Not only does the CBC commend President Obama, but we commend the government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses prepared to offer vital opportunities to those who need them most. When meeting with the President, CBC Members expressed the desperate need for youth jobs and we are pleased that the Obama Administration understands this critical need. Unfortunately, this effort is still not enough.
“The Republican Leadership refused to take any real action on jobs for the duration of the first session the 112th Congress, despite our many efforts from the ‘For the People’ Jobs Initiative, including over fifty pieces of jobs legislation offered by Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and nine job creation recommendations. Most importantly the Republican Leadership has refused to even consider President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which would provide opportunities for hard working American families. By denying the American people opportunities we are denying ourselves full economic recovery. The American Jobs Act is not a hand out, it is a hand up out of poverty, out of debt, out of foreclosure and most importantly, out of hopelessness. The Republican Leadership has failed the American people and no matter how well everyone else seems to be doing we cannot ignore the fact that those in our most vulnerable communities continue to suffer. Their sufferings are our own. It is a new year, which creates a new opportunity to do the right thing. I am hoping that my colleagues will give hard working American families the chance they so rightly deserve.”
-Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II