WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the August 2014 Employment Situation report released today:
"With today's report, businesses have added more than 10 million jobs over the last four and a half years. That makes 54 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, the longest streak on record. The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1 percent in August, a significant decrease from 7.2 percent in August 2013.
"When President Obama took office in 2009, he inherited an economy that was in free fall. But through the ingenuity of American businesses, the sheer grit and determination of American workers, and smart policies put forth by the administration, we have made steady progress in recovering from the worst recession in generations.
"While I remain optimistic about where our economy is headed, there are still 3 million long-term unemployed Americans, and we can do more to help those who are still struggling to recover. That's why this year the Labor Department is investing more than $1 billion in job-driven training initiatives that will help more people acquire the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century.
"To stay on this positive trajectory and enable even more Americans to benefit from this recovery, we need Congress to put politics aside and work as our partners. We need them to raise the national minimum wage, which has remained stagnant since 2009. We need them to extend emergency unemployment benefits so the long-term unemployed can continue to pay their bills and put food on the table while they look for work. We need them to help working families by addressing outdated workplace policies.
"The president has made good on his promise to act when Congress won't. He has signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for private-sector workers hired under federal contracts. He announced new rules to give more workers access to overtime pay. He has taken action to combat pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws. And he will continue to act where he can to strengthen our economy and our workforce.
"This week we celebrated Labor Day, which gives us an opportunity to honor the contributions hardworking men and women make every day to our nation, our economy and our communities. Let's honor them every day by ensuring this recovery doesn't pass any of them by."