WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement about the June 2016 Employment Situation report released today:
“In June, the U.S. economy demonstrated its resilience once again. With the addition of 287,000 jobs, the total nonfarm employment level bounced back from May’s below-expectations report; we are reminded of the importance of focusing on long-term trends rather than one month’s results. All told, American businesses have added 14.8 million jobs since February 2010, a remarkable recovery from the greatest economic crisis of our lifetimes. In June, the unemployment rate remained below 5 percent – down from 10 percent at the height of the recession. Weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance have been below 300,000 for 70 weeks, the longest streak since 1973.
“Other data suggest similar cause for optimism. Consumer confidence has bounced back to its pre-recession levels. Consumer spending rose noticeably in April and May. The American auto industry has come roaring back from near death – 2015 saw record auto sales, and sales remain strong in 2016. There were 5.8 million job openings in April – the highest level on record – meaning that there are about 1.4 job seekers for every open position, compared to nearly seven jobseekers for every job in the depths of the Great Recession.
“Though today’s report confirms that our economy is resilient and strong, we still have more work to do to ensure that the prosperity we have created is broadly shared.
“We can start with two measures that Congress has so far refused to take up: raising the federal minimum wage and guaranteeing access to paid sick and parental leave. I am heartened by the many states and localities that have taken these matters into their own hands, as well as those that will put those questions directly before the people via ballot referenda in November. But you shouldn’t have to win the ‘geographic lottery’ to get a fair wage or the tools you need to succeed at work and at home. There is no substitute for congressional action.
“Additionally, we can do so much more to invest in our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure. As millions of Americans head to the beach or national parks this summer, they will drive over roads and bridges in serious need of repair. These investments would not only make our infrastructure stronger, they would create jobs and benefit all sectors of the economy.
“We know what we need to do to sustain and scale our progress, because we have done it before. I remain as confident as ever that we can indeed make sure that the rising tide lifts all the boats, not just the yachts.”