Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said he is concerned about high rates of long-term unemployment and that policy makers must consider “people who might get left behind” as the economy expands.
“We’re seeing stubbornly high unemployment — high rates of long-term unemployment,” Lew said in an interview Wednesday on the “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley” program.
The number of long-term unemployed, or those out of work for 27 weeks or more, was 4.3 million in June. That’s down from a high of 6.7 million in April 2010, though higher than the 2.7 million in January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office.
Lew’s comments on unemployment coincided with a speech by Obama earlier in the day on boosting the U.S. economy. Obama, speaking at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, accused his opponents of diverting attention to “political posturing and phony scandals.”
Lew said the U.S. needs to “think both about the macroeconomic problems of growing the economy and growing jobs but also what’s happening to people who might get left behind.”
Lew also reiterated that there was “no evidence of any political decision-making” in the Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of Tea Party groups.
“There was clearly bad judgment” at the IRS even though “there has been no evidence of anyone in a political position having been involved in any of those decisions,” he said.
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