WASHINGTON — With the release of the May 2015 Employment Situation Report today, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez says there are five things you should know about its numbers:
- Record streak continues: This is the best jobs report of 2015 so far. The economy added 280,000 jobs in May, bringing us to 12.6 million private-sector jobs over the last 63 months.
- Low unemployment: The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.5 percent. It's the ninth straight month under 6 percent after 73 straight months above 6 percent. Over the last year, there has been a significant decrease in the unemployment rate for every demographic group except teens.
- Meaningful progress on wages: Average hourly earnings for employees on private payrolls rose by 8 cents in May. The 2.3 percent increase from last May is the largest year-over-year increase since August 2013.
- Long-term unemployment trending down: 28.6 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more — that's the lowest rate in six years. There are 849,000 fewer long-term unemployed people than a year ago.
- The unfinished business: The recovery continues apace with strong and steady job growth. But the wind at our back isn't propelling everyone forward. From education and skills development to minimum wage and paid leave, the Obama administration continues to work every day to extend more opportunity to more people. We hope Congress will join us in our efforts to reward hard work and give everyone the chance to punch their ticket to the middle class.