The latest Employment Situation report shows that the economic winds remained at our back in February, with the addition of 295,000 new jobs. Here’s what else you should know:
- We’ve now seen 12 months in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs, the longest such streak in nearly 20 years.
- For five years now – 60 uninterrupted months – private sector employment growth has continued unabated to the tune of more than 12 million jobs overall.
- The labor market continues to strengthen, as the economy has increasingly added middle- and high-wage jobs over the last two years.
- The unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is the lowest it’s been since the spring of 2008.
- And in 2014, unemployment fell in all 50 states for the first time in 30 years.
But this isn’t a moment to take a victory lap or spike the football. We’re doing very well, but we can do even better, especially with so many working families still not being lifted by the rising tide. That’s why the president is resolute in his belief and pursuit of middle-class economics. That’s why he wants to eliminate barriers to education and prepare more people for 21st-century jobs. That’s why he believes we should fix our broken immigration system and fix our crumbling roads and bridges, which are stifling economic growth.
We must help more people reap the benefits of a growing economy, ensuring that no one gets left on the sidelines as this recovery continues to gather steam. That’s the idea behind the president’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, launched a year ago to close opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color. This week, the White House released a one-year report demonstrating progress toward MBK goals, with nearly 200 local leaders answering the call to mobilize their communities toward concrete action on these pressing challenges.
Middle-class economics also means the security of a dignified retirement after years of hard work. So last month at the president’s direction, the Labor Department took an important step toward updating the rules governing retirement advice, to ensure that financial advisers are putting their clients’ interests above their own.
There is every reason to be bullish about the direction of our economy. But there’s every reason also to believe we can work together on common-sense, bipartisan solutions that will lead to even greater job growth and shared prosperity in the months and years to come.
Follow Secretary Perez on Twitter as @LaborSec.