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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [06/05/2009]
Contact Name: Jennifer Kaplan
Phone Number: (202) 693-5052
Release Number: 09-0644-NAT

Statement of U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis on May 2009 employment numbers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the May 2009 Employment Situation report released today:

"This past May, our economy lost 345,000 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs lost since this recession began to 6 million. The overall unemployment rate increased to 9.4 percent.

"Americans all across the country continue to face adversity during this economic downturn. Today's findings continue to illustrate and underscore the needs of working families. That struggle is the single-most important focus of this administration.

"We continue to move swiftly and aggressively to protect workers who have lost their jobs, to provide new training opportunities, to assist workers in upgrading their skills and to open new employment in emerging sectors such as green jobs and health information technology.

"To underscore our commitment, the Department of Labor has moved aggressively to implement the Recovery Act by providing nearly $3 billion in formula grants to states and local governments for employment and training activities directed to adults, youth and dislocated workers; $1.3 billion in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to 18 states and the District of Columbia; and $120 million in funds for services to low-income seniors. We have provided states with funds to pay extra weeks of unemployment benefits for an extended period of time; increased benefits checks by an extra $25 per week; and given $500 million to states to help them administer unemployment insurance benefits and re-employment services.

"We are beginning to see signs of the recovery taking hold as the comprehensive plan of the Obama Administration continues to reach more and more Americans. There are signs in this report that Recovery Act programs are beginning to moderate the fall in jobs. For example, the stimulus tax cuts seem to be helping to stabilize employment in the retail and service sectors.

"We continue to be concerned about the high level of unemployment, especially for those who have been out of work an extended period of time. We are working to make sure these workers continue to have access to unemployment insurance benefits and job training opportunities. These efforts underscore our top priority to rebuild the economy to get people back to work.

"We are facing extraordinary challenges, but Americans are resilient and no stranger to adversity. After meeting with workers all across this country, I am even more confident that we can meet these challenges with the same resilient attitude and commitment to innovation that has characterized our country throughout its history."

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