For Immediate Release
Josh Goldstein (202) 637-5018
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on May Employment
WASHINGTON - The gain of a meager 54,000 jobs in May is a sign of real danger for working families and for the recovery. The private sector added only 83,000 jobs, less than a third of the average of recent months and far too few to absorb new entrants into the labor force, let alone bring down unemployment. The government shed another 28,000 jobs because of layoffs by state and local governments and deep budget cuts. Nearly two years into the recovery, the unemployment rate has risen to 9.1 percent. Even more startling, the average duration of unemployment rose to 39.7 weeks – the longest ever, demonstrating the prolonged pain of this recession.
While the wealth in our society has flowed to a handful of rich Americans, working people have endured years of hardship. And now, instead of doing what is necessary to stimulate the economy, invest in jobs, and restore consumer confidence, too many in Washington continue to clamor for harmful spending cuts to advance their own political interests.
Legislating by political games and ideology is the worst possible response to the crisis. Deep budget cuts threaten our economic security by giving up on promises made to seniors and the future for our children. And as we've seen in other countries' response to the crisis, it leads to an even more dangerous economic climate. This is a time for bold action.
Let it be clear to our leaders and those seeking office: no other issue than the jobs crisis will be more dominant in the minds of working people come next November. Gaining the support of working families will mean showing real political courage, not playing more political games.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions. The AFL-CIO union movement represents 10.5 million members, including 2 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate. We are teachers and truck drivers, musicians and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and bottlers, engineers and editors, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and laborers-and more.