Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in August and the unemployment rate was 5.2%. The unemployment rate was 8.8% for Black workers, 6.4% for Hispanic workers and 4.6% for Asian workers.
“Today’s jobs numbers remind us that economic recovery hinges on controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression will not be without its challenges, and with strong leadership, we can continue to rise to meet them.
“Since President Biden took office, we’ve recovered almost 4.5 million jobs, averaging 636,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.2%, a pandemic-era low. Yesterday, we learned that weekly unemployment claims reached their lowest level since before the pandemic—down from a pandemic high of over 6 million, and more than halving in fewer than six months.
“In the first half of 2021, our economy grew at the fastest rate in nearly 40 years, bringing GDP above its pre-pandemic peak—a direct result of the President’s campaign to expand vaccine access and availability. Shots in arms remain our most effective tool against the coronavirus, making them one of the most pro-growth economic policies we have right now. We must redouble our efforts to improve our vaccination rates to ensure the continuation of a strong economic recovery.
“Labor Day is coming up, and we recognize the contributions and achievements of U.S. workers. Yet in today’s jobs data, we see persistent racial and gender inequality—evidence of the pervasive structural barriers in the labor market that hinder our economy's progress toward full employment and constrict the pathways to economic growth that is strong, stable, and broadly shared.
“The American Rescue Plan provided much needed emergency relief for the American people and laid the foundation for a sustainable and equitable recovery. Democrats in Congress remain committed to investing in U.S. workers and families—who are the foundation of our economy—through the Build Back Better Act to build economic resilience and promote shared prosperity.”
About Congressman Beyer
Congressman Don Beyer is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and Ambassador to Switzerland, and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.
About the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee
The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic think tank. It was created when Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946. Under this Act, Congress established two advisory panels: the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and the JEC. Their primary tasks are to review economic conditions and to recommend improvements in economic policy. Chairmanship of the JEC alternates between the Senate and House every Congress.