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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

Five things US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez says
you should know about the July employment numbers

WASHINGTON — With the release of the July 2015 Employment Situation Report today, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez says there are five things you should know about the numbers:

  1. More jobs are being created: With businesses adding 210,000 jobs in July, that extends the run to 65 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, to the tune of 13.0 million jobs overall.
    • Let's break that down: that means, on average, private businesses have been creating roughly 6,500 new jobs every single day since February 2010.
    • This is the second year in a row that we're averaging 200,000 new total non-farm jobs per month through July. That hasn't happened since 1999-2000.
    • The recovery is broad-based, with employment gains happening throughout the economy. Job growth is more widespread across industries than at any point since 1998.
  2. Unemployment holds steady: The July unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, the first time it has fallen below the pre-recession average (December 2001-December 2007).

    African-American unemployment, while still far too high at 9.1 percent, has seen a steady decline in recent years (a 5 percentage point drop from three years ago).
  3. Employment is rising with the temperature: Thanks to summer jobs, 2.1 million more young people (ages 16-24) were working in July than in April.

    When young people have summer jobs, it gives them the opportunity to acquire and hone the skills they need to build successful careers down the road.
  4. Wages are inching up, but America needs a raise: Average hourly earnings rose by 5 cents in July, with a 2.1 percent increase over the last 12 months.

    Still, for decades now, workers have had little to show in their paychecks for greater productivity. That's why President Obama has proposed changing the overtime rules to give millions of workers access to time-and-a-half pay. That's why Congress must increase the minimum wage (Did you know that last year, Wall Street bonuses were more than double the total earnings of all full-time workers on the federal minimum wage?).
  5. We need more people in the workforce: Labor force participation rate in July was 62.6 percent, remaining stable following a significant drop during the recession. But we can do more to boost that number, for example by passing a national paid leave law — just as every other advanced economy on earth has done — to help bring more women into the workforce.

Also keep in mind: labor force participation is held down in part by demographic shifts, namely an aging population and the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Comparing today's LFPR to that of 40 years ago is apples-to-oranges.

OPA News Release: [08/07/2015]
Contact Name: David Roberts
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945
Release Number: 15-1552-NAT