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.
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.