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News Release

Statement of US Labor Secretary Perez on October employment numbers

WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the October 2016 Employment Situation report released today:

“The American economy continued its solid recovery from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes in October, with the addition of 161,000 jobs. All told, American businesses have added 15.5 million jobs since February 2010, and we are in the longest streak of overall job growth on record. Additionally, the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 4.9 percent.

“Americans have been waiting for a meaningful raise for too long, and today’s report confirms what we’ve seen over the last year – that they are getting one. Wages are up 2.8 percent over the last 12 months, the largest increase since the Great Recession, and the current pace of wage growth is even faster.

“Indeed, we have come a long way since President Obama inherited an economy in freefall. In the three months before he took office, the labor market shed 2.3 million private-sector jobs. The unemployment rate was 10 percent at this time in 2009. The auto industry was on life support and some said, pull the plug. But thanks to the grit and determination of the American people and businesses – coupled with wise policy decisions from the Obama administration – our economy demonstrates its continued strength month after month. Consumer confidence is high and initial unemployment claims are low. Auto sales hit a record high in 2015, and we remain close to those levels in 2016.

“Though I am heartened by this latest report, I know we have more to do to sustain and scale the progress we’ve made. We can start by raising the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for too long. We can expand access to paid leave so people don’t have to choose between the job they need, and the family they love. We can invest in infrastructure to support our businesses and connect our country. These commonsense measures are essential to building an economy that works for everyone and making sure that prosperity is broadly shared.

Office of Public Affairs
November 4, 2016
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Media Contact: David Roberts
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