by Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow,
National Women's Law Center
As if we needed any more evidence of the continuing economic crisis and slow recovery, today’s unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics further illustrates the persistent difficulties facing families and the absolute necessity of Senate action on economic recovery legislation.
In June, the economy shed 125,000 jobs—mostly driven by the loss of temporary Census jobs—and the overall unemployment rate declined from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent. Similarly, unemployment for women declined from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. However, the declines in both unemployment rates are a result of an increase in the number of people exiting the labor force rather than an increase in the number of people with jobs. The number of people who exited the labor force increased by roughly 842,000 last month, and 61 percent of them were women. Unemployment among women who head families rose from 11.6 percent to 12.1 percent, edging above 12 percent for the first time in five months. 14.6 million Americans remain unemployed, 45.5 percent of whom have been unemployed for six months or more.
There simply aren’t enough jobs available or being created for a sustained economic recovery, and families continue to suffer. Because a minority of Senators continues to block unemployment benefit extensions, over 2 million long-term jobless workers will have lost these vital benefits by the time Congress returns from recess, and 3.23 million will have by the end of July. Never before has Congress cut off benefits when unemployment was so high.