Pelosi Speaks for Workers: ‘Hip, Hip Hooray, Unemployment is Down! What Does That Mean to Me?’

By Emilie Cochran | June 7, 2018 | 12:22pm EDT
House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

( -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at her press briefing today that although unemployment is down, government dependency is not--and that wages must rise. asked Pelosi: “The unemployment rate in May was 3.8 percent—the lowest it has been in 18 years. Is that good news?”

Pelosi said: “Well, as I said, unemployment rate is one indication. The fact is, and this has happened before, that people say: Oh my goodness, that people are saying the unemployment rate is down, why isn’t my purchasing power increasing?

“So, this isn’t just about the unemployment rate, it’s about wages rising in our country, so that consumer confidence is restored,” she said.  “Because our economy will never fully reach its possibilities unless we increase the consumer confidence and that can only be increased by a better deal, better jobs, better wages, better future, and lowering costs to families--whether its prescription drugs, by really lowering the cost of prescription drugs--and that list goes on.”

“This is one unusual time and I follow it closely, where the unemployment rate is down, but the dependence on subsidies, food insecurity, housing subsidies, and the rest, has not gone down because of the wage stagnation," she said.

"So, in terms of the national stability of America’s working families," said Pelosi, "unless we have an increase--a very significant increase in wages--bigger paychecks, we are going to increase the frustration of America’s families because they’ll be saying: Hip, hip hooray, unemployment is down! What does that mean to me in my life? I need a bigger paycheck.’ That’s the apprehension American families have had for a while and continue to have and we must address.”

“So, when we’re talking about this, it’s not increase more jobs so that we can subsidize more low-paying jobs by public investment, housing support, food support and the list goes on,” said Pelosi. “But to have living wages for people, justice, economic justice, social justice. Justice, it’s a very important value that America has.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the last time unemployment was as low as the 3.8 percent it hit may was in April 2000, when it was also 3.8 percent.

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