The Longest Job Growth Streak Since 1997

by Secretary Tom Perez on August 1, 2014 · 2 comments

The July Employment Situation report shows that we’ve now seen six consecutive months with job growth topping 200,000, and 53 consecutive months of private sector job growth – the longest streak on record. Businesses added 209,000 jobs in July, bringing us to a total of 9.9 million since February 2010. The unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, a slight increase from the previous month that was largely due to an increase in labor force participation. The unemployment rate was down significantly from 7.3 percent in July 2013.

The sustained progress and continued momentum make me optimistic. However, many Americans, despite their best efforts, are still struggling to climb out of the hole created by the Great Recession. As our economy continues on its positive trajectory, we should use the momentum to enable more people to access ladders of opportunity.

This is what the president’s opportunity agenda is about. Providing more people with access to good jobs that pay fair wages. Helping more people acquire the skills they need to compete for those jobs. Giving more people the tools they need to gain a solid foothold in the middle class.

We can do this by ensuring hard work is rewarded with fair wages; pursuing policies, such as paid leave, that help working families succeed; making critical investments to update our aging infrastructure; expanding access to training programs that prepare ready-to-work Americans for ready-to-be-filled jobs.

Employment in Major Industries Since the Employment Trough, February 2010 - July 2014.

Employment in Major Industries Since the Employment Trough, February 2010 - July 2014. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics Program.

While Congress continues its stubborn refusal to work with the administration to expand opportunity and grow our economy, the president will continue to act where he can. Just this week, he signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order, which requires companies competing for federal contracts to disclose labor law violations. It will ensure a level playing field for those employers who play by the rules, and it will ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t spent to subsidize bad employment practices.

The executive order is just the latest in a series of actions designed to strengthen our economy and our workforce. I hope that Congress will put aside politics and begin to work with us so that we can continue the great economic progress we’ve seen and help more Americans take part in our recovery. 

Follow Secretary Perez on Twitter as @LaborSec.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 joshua marc flint August 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I am one of those who questions the integrity of companies that reject equality in quality workers. How will a contract differ the the right to fire at will? Only about a couple of hundred days. Thank you once again for equality disability rights Mr. President Kennedy. For the contract deals… President Obama.

2 Sheryl Eldridge August 4, 2014 at 3:28 am

As I review the first chart, I am reminded of the many news articles and stories published or aired in 2008 and forward of how so many folks lost their jobs due to layoffs, plant/business closings, etc. So many citizens had to start over in education, many from the GED level because they thought they had job security to retirement. Some were put in a dire situation that makes one shudder to think about. I think we’ve all learned that true job security to retirement is no longer a realistic way of looking at our careers, with any job.

Secretary Perez’s statement, “…we should use the momentum to enable more people to access ladders of opportunity.” speaks to what government, businesses, education leaders as well as communities need to do to help those in need. Many individuals not only need more education but they also must find a new career pathway. We all know that most jobs require experience and you can’t get experience without a job. Perhaps those businesses who are not in a position to hire folks could begin a new way of helping. Join alliances with the education institutions and community agencies to offer on the job skill building and knowledge. Help fill the on the job KSAs gap for individuals seeking new careers.

There are many ideas that could be discussed and finalized for the betterment of those individuals needing help now for a brighter tomorrow. We need to promote to all who will listen the vital importance of having a Plan B, C and D and building ‘portable’ skills when it comes to our careers. With the many resources available through agencies receiving training grants and other funding this should be a requirement. We need to equip our clients, including job seekers, with necessary information for current needs AND solid training for possible future needs. We need to provide a solution to, “How can the skills I wish to build today, provide for a new career tomorrow?” If we didn’t think about that before, we have certainly learned during the past six years that it’s a must.

We all need to step up and help as our future leaders are counting on the current leadership, be it government, businesses, education and/or community leaders, to set the stage for them. We all can make a difference and together we can make a positive impact to welcome our future leaders to a growing, bright and promising tomorrow.

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