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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

Statement of US Labor Secretary Perez on August employment numbers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the August 2015 Employment Situation report released today:

"The strong and steady recovery of the U.S. economy continued last month, with the addition of 173,000 new jobs. August was the 66th consecutive month of private sector job growth with private employers having now created 13.1 million jobs since the beginning of 2010.

"The unemployment rate continues to fall, with August's rate at 5.1 percent, down from a year ago when it was 6.1 percent. That makes a full year below 6 percent, following more than six years (73 straight months) of an unemployment rate above 6 percent.

"We saw growth in different sectors of the economy in August, for instance in health care, a sector that includes traditional occupations like nursing and jobs of the future like health IT. Local governments were also hiring, creating thousands of jobs such as teachers as our children head back to school in the fall.

"While the Great Recession is behind us, not every household is experiencing rising incomes and living standards. So many people are still struggling to find work. Even many of those who have jobs find themselves running in place, still unable to get ahead despite working harder than ever. For an even more robust recovery that lifts up more people, we need Congress to come together to raise the national minimum wage and pass a transportation infrastructure bill, along with avoiding self-inflicted wounds by eliminating sequestration.

"It's also critical that workers have the ability to stand up and speak out for better wages, benefits and working conditions. The labor movement and union membership have traditionally been our most powerful expressions of worker voice. Next month when President Obama convenes a Summit on Worker Voice, we will focus on ways to strengthen organizing efforts and protect collective bargaining rights, in addition to exploring new models for empowering workers.

"In my travels around the country over the last month, I've met with workers, employers and community leaders who are working together to build an economy that expands opportunity for everyone. They share the president's belief and my belief that we build a stronger nation through shared prosperity, that America is at its best when more people have more.

"As we celebrate Labor Day this weekend, let's remember that this is a holiday about more than picnics, barbecues and enjoying the final, fleeting days of summer. It is a tribute to the ingenuity and mettle of America's extraordinary working men and women. For everything they contribute to our economic strength and resilience, let's do everything possible to help them thrive."

OPA News Release: [09/04/2015]
Contact Name: David Roberts
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945
Release Number: 15-1745-NAT