Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Friday that despite a new jobs report showing the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in May, millions of Americans are still out of work, and millions of people have left the workforce since President Barack Obama took office.
“Since President Obama came into office in 2009, 7.2 million people have left the workforce entirely,” Sessions said.
“One out of every six men aged 25–54 is not working. Employment in this group fell by 72,000 last month, while the number of employed women aged 25–54 fell by 37,000.”
U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday that the economy added 217,000 jobs in May, a couple of thousand more than the average prediction of economists. The unemployment rate remained steady at 6.3 percent.
But Sessions said that if discouraged workers are added — those who want a job but have stopped looking — the unemployment rate is 12.2 percent.
Republicans have largely dismissed the government’s reports that show some job gains because so many people are still not working. Labor said the labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent, an historical low that means several million fewer Americans are working now compared to before the Great Recession.
“These numbers are grim and make clear that this economy is nowhere close to performing at an acceptable level,” Sessions said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a slightly more optimistic statement after the job numbers were released. But Boehner said Washington still needs to act to get the federal government out of the way of producing even more jobs.
“That’s why the House has passed bill after bill to make it easier to find and create good-paying jobs,” he said. “Meanwhile, the administration has just proposed what amounts to a national energy tax that will lower incomes and destroy jobs for years to come.
“If instead we empower our people with freedom and opportunity – if we get government out of their way – we will begin to see the American economy return to real growth and prosperity.”