Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) said the May jobs report, while adding a disappointing 54,000 jobs in the last month, was still the 15th consecutive month of job growth.  The result is over two million private sector jobs added as America comes out of the recession. 

The unemployment rate crept up slightly to 9.1 percent with that “largely attributed to temporary factors, like the automotive supply chain disruption caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and higher oil prices caused by unrest in the Middle East,” according to a New York Times analysis.  The fragile nature of the economic recovery gives events such as these a much larger significance since the economy has fewer margins for error.

“It is disappointing to see the job growth numbers slow, after so many months of promising news.  However, instead of utilizing the resources of the federal government to help this recovery and get more people back to work, we reach the halfway point of 2011 without debating a single jobs bill in the House of Representatives.  The Republican majority’s agenda has instead focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and eliminating the thousands of jobs connected to it.  They have passed legislation benefitting Big Oil, instead of pursuing measures to help create jobs in the burgeoning alternative energy fields.  Worst of all, they have passed their FY 2012 budget, which eliminates Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, the attack on Medicare and Medicaid would result in a loss of over 2 million more jobs.

“After opposing every jobs bill introduced in 2010, no one can be shocked they have ignored the unemployment problem since taking the majority.   I call on the Republicans to shift the focus of their agenda back to where they promised the American people it would be – to creating jobs.  Let’s stop the divisive attacks on the social safety net, college students’ Pell Grants, young children’s education through Head Start, and any and all investments into local governments and communities which cripple their attempts at creating jobs on the ground. 

“The answer is not more rhetoric on lowering corporate taxes, in fact, total federal tax revenue as a percentage of Gross National Product has averaged 14.9% since January 2009, the lowest in decades.  It is expected to drop even further in 2011.  The answer is investment in the American people, and our communities and businesses who need confidence and resources to hire them.  It is time to come together to find sensible solutions to our serious problem of high unemployment.”