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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [06/04/2010]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 10-0785-NAT

Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on May Employment Numbers

Washington – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the May 2010 Employment Situation report released today:

“This past May, the economy gained 431,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent. This marks the fifth straight month that we have had job growth.

“While the temporary hiring of 411,000 Census workers accounts for most of the job growth in May, the private sector also contributed 41,000 jobs.  Since the beginning of the year, private companies have added close to half a million workers. 

“These numbers indicate that the steps this administration has taken over the past year have put the American economy on the right track. The most recent estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers indicate that the Recovery Act saved or created between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010 and helped raise gross domestic product for a third straight quarter. The economy has added jobs in six of the last seven months. 

“While we are encouraged to see the economy strengthening and employers starting to hire again, we recognize more work has to be done to ensure every American who wants a job has access to a good job.  For the millions of Americans who have struggled to find work in the last year, the economy is still in a recession.  As the president said on Wednesday, “[This] will not be a real recovery until people can feel it in their own lives.”  The administration is continuing to work with Congress to provide further support that will ensure a rapid recovery. 

“We continue to push for programs to help unemployed workers make it through this difficult time.  Extending expiring unemployment benefits and health coverage is vital. I call on Congress to extend the unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidy provisions in the Recovery Act through the end of the year. The president has called on Congress to expand the clean energy manufacturing tax credit and to help small businesses with tax cuts and a lending fund to help them get the credit they need to create jobs.   

“The Department of Labor also has taken important steps to invest in programs that retrain and prepare unemployed workers with the skills and knowledge for 21st century jobs in emerging industries like clean and renewable energy, health care and information technology.  Many of these programs have been targeted toward populations with the greatest barriers to re-employment and areas with high levels of poverty. Recently, the department made available $90 million to the states for on-the-job training to help displaced workers gain job skills and experiences that will help them secure future employment.

“The economy and jobs situation will continue to be our number one focus in the year ahead.  We clearly have much more work to do to get Americans back to work, and the Department of Labor is committed to helping get our country back on track.”