Washington, D.C. — Today Center for American Progress Chief Economist Heather Boushey issued the following reaction to the announcement of May’s employment figures:
The economy added a respectable 175,000 jobs in May. This good news overall was almost entirely driven by private-sector employment, as federal and state government continued to work against recovery by shedding workers.
While the growth in jobs is certainly good news, with an unemployment rate stuck at 7.6 percent, the pace of hiring must quicken in order to pull all the unemployed back into jobs. A stubbornly high 4.4 million people are among the long-term unemployed, having been pounding the pavement, searching for work for at least six months.
The sharp cuts of the sequester are slowing the recovery. The federal government shed another 14,000 workers in May, for a total of 45,000 jobs cut over the past three months. The federal workforce is smaller than at any time since February 2008. This is no time for austerity; our priority must be economic growth, the kind of growth that leads to strong and stable job creation. Policymakers must replace the damaging and counterproductive sequester with a reasonable, manageable plan that includes some upfront investment in economic growth.
To speak with a CAP expert about the monthly jobs report, please contact Katie Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6285.
See also: It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button on the Fiscal Debate, by Michael Linden