Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 2.5 million in May and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%. The unemployment rate was 16.8% for Black workers, matching the Great Recession high. It was 17.6% for Latino workers.

“Today’s jobs report seems to be a step in the right direction, but it paints a different picture than the millions of recently filed unemployment claims. There are many moving parts that make it difficult to get an accurate read of the labor market. The experts will need some time to sort that out.

“One thing is clear—despite the President’s premature pat on the back, we are not out of the woods yet. Some Americans were able to return to work last month, recovering some of the job losses in April. But more than 20 million Americans remain unemployed, including nearly half a million municipal workers who lost their jobs last month alone.

“That is why it is so critical that we continue Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and the Paycheck Protection Program, and get state and local governments the support they need. Workers and businesses need to know that we are all in this together and that we will provide them with support for as long as the economy remains weak.

“The road to recovery will be long and while we must hope for the best we must also prepare for the worst. Even as the unemployment rate starts to come down, it will likely remain in double digits for months—for the African-American and Latino communities in particular. Even as states reopen across the country, hundreds of people will continue to die each day in our country from the coronavirus until we have a vaccine.

“And, no matter how much things change for the better, one thing sadly and shamefully will not—the fact that this White House could have saved tens of thousands of lives if it would have acted a week or two sooner.”

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to Switzerland and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.