The Labor Department reported an essentially unchanged jobless rate for May, drawing criticism from Republicans but more assurances from the White House that they were on the right path.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
Employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and retail trade.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (6.5 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks (13.5 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent) showed little or no change in May.
The civilian labor force rose by 420,000 to 155.7 million in May; however, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.4 percent, said the Labor Department. Over the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percentage point.
The Senate Republican Policy Committee quickly pointed out that the “real” unemployment rate is 13.8 percent.
“Today’s disappointing jobs report is yet another reminder that so many of our fellow Americans are still hurting,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).
“The failed policies of the Obama Administration, championed wholeheartedly by the Democrat-controlled Senate, have compounded and exacerbated America’s economic challenges,” Price added. “From President Obama’s costly and intrusive takeover of health care to their seemingly unquenchable thirst to spend, Washington’s Democrats appear unwilling to accept the empirical evidence presented time and time again that demonstrates their economic approach simply isn’t working for the American people.”
Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, parroted in a statement what the White House releases most every month in response to the jobs report.
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class, as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007,” Krueger wrote.
“With the recovery gaining traction, now is not the time for Washington to impose self-inflicted wounds on the economy. The Administration continues to urge Congress to replace the sequester with balanced deficit reduction, while working to put in place measures to create middle-class jobs, such as by rebuilding our roads and bridges and promoting American manufacturing,” he continued. “The President will continue to press Congress to act on the measures he called for in his State of the Union address to make America a magnet for good jobs, help workers earn the skills they need to do those jobs, and make sure their hard work leads to a decent living.”
House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said the latest report “shows that our economy is recovering at a sluggish pace and that job growth is far behind our potential.”
“In addition to our chronically high unemployment rate, our nation’s employment rate is near a 30-year low and has barely shifted over the past three years,” Sessions said.