WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the May 2014 Employment Situation report released today:
"The economy in May continued its steady recovery from the Great Recession, and we have now added 9.4 million new private-sector jobs over 51 consecutive months. The economy generated 217,000 new jobs in May — the fourth consecutive month exceeding 200,000 new jobs — and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent.
"We continue to move in the right direction with steady job growth, but we must take steps to help those individuals who are still feeling the lasting effects of the recession. There are 3.4 million people experiencing long-term unemployment. It's been five months since Congress allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire, leaving so many families without a critical lifeline. These are our friends and neighbors, and they're suffering — Congress must act so they can continue to pay their bills and put food on the table while they look for work.
"And despite the warm weather, Congress continues to leave low-wage workers out in the cold by refusing to pass an increase in the minimum wage. States and local jurisdictions have taken it upon themselves to ensure their residents get the long overdue raise that they deserve, and I encourage them to continue to act as long as Congress refuses to do so. No person who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty.
"President Obama is committed to taking steps to spur a more robust economic recovery, including making investments in infrastructure that will put more people back to work upgrading our ports, roads and power grids. We will continue to work with the president to make this a year of action so that more people can access opportunities and share in America's prosperity."