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Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), 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 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%. The unemployment rate was 15.4% for Black workers and 14.5% for Hispanic workers.

The 4.8 million new nonfarm jobs in June follow a loss of 1.4 million jobs in March, a loss of 20.8 million jobs in April and a gain of 2.7 million jobs in May—a net loss of 14.7 million jobs.

“Some of my Republican colleagues are making the absurd argument that job gains over the past two months mean that unemployed workers no longer need supplemental benefits. We are still nearly 15 million jobs in the hole. The Trump Administration could have saved many of these jobs if it had responded to the threat of the coronavirus just a few weeks earlier.

“The unemployment rate is still higher than it has been in 80 years and there are more unemployed workers than there are job openings. There have been over one million new unemployment claims for 15 straight weeks and job losses for public sector workers at the state and local level have been catastrophic. For Americans who have held onto their jobs, many have had their pay cut or have been forced to work part time.

“If you add to all of this the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in states that re-opened too soon—and, in some cases, started to re-shutter, it is easy to see that the fresh start the Trump Administration has been trumpeting is actually a false start, especially when you consider that this spike began after the survey period for this report.

“The most important thing we can do to get the economy back on track is to contain the virus—yet the President has his head in the sand. In the meantime, we must provide relief to workers, families and state and local governments for as long as they need it.

“Senate Republicans’ refusal to lift a finger to further boost the economy is unacceptable and risks impoverishing millions of families. They should pass the HEROES Act, which extends unemployment insurance benefits through the beginning of next year."