WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the December 2014 Employment Situation report released today:
"The U.S. economy closed out the year on a continued hot streak — 252,000 new jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.6 percent. December was the 58th consecutive month of private sector job growth, to the tune of 11.2 million jobs. Average unemployment for 2014 was down 1.2 percentage points from 2013, the largest decrease since 1984.
"The resolve and resilience of the American people, plus the steady hand of President Obama, pulled us out of the Great Recession and have put the economy on a sure path. There's still more to do, and the president is determined to make the fourth quarter of his term the most productive yet. Yesterday, he unveiled a new initiative to help more hard-working Americans own a home. Today, he will announce a new manufacturing innovation hub and propose making two years of community college free for anyone willing to work for it.
"There is plenty of unfinished business in this recovery. We need to do more to achieve meaningful wage growth, because too many middle-class families are still working harder and falling further behind. We need to do more to ensure that the economy works for everyone, to create broadly-shared prosperity.
"Looking ahead to 2015 with great confidence, we'll be building on the momentum of the nation's remarkable economic performance over the last year. Here is a quick look back."
14 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE 2014 ECONOMY
- Nearly 3 million jobs in 2014, the best year since 1999.
- This is the longest streak of private sector job growth on record: 58 straight months.
- Then: U.S. lost nearly 4.5 million jobs the year before President Obama took office. Now: we've had 11 consecutive months with employment growth above 200,000.
- The vast majority of jobs created during the recovery have been full-time jobs.
- We've created GOOD JOBS. In the past year alone:
- professional & business services is up 732,000 jobs;
- education & health services is up 482,000 jobs;
- construction is up 290,000 jobs; and
- manufacturing is up 186,000 jobs.
- In 2013, forecasters didn't think we would have an unemployment rate below 6% for another three years — but we are now at 5.6%.
- The unemployment rate has gone down in the past year because PEOPLE GOT JOBS. Labor force participation rate held roughly steady in 2014.
- If you think the unemployment rate fell fast, the long-term unemployment rate fell even faster.
- In 2009, there were 7 job seekers for every open job. Today there are 2.
- Hiring is at levels we haven't seen since before the Great Recession.
- Almost left for dead six years ago, the American auto industry is back. In 2014, our workers churned out cars faster than any year since 2005.
- Consumer confidence is at a seven-year high.
- The last time the deficit fell this fast was the end of World War II.
- The S&P 500 closed at record highs on more than 50 days in 2014. The Dow broke more than 35 such records.