My First Jobs Day Was an Encouraging One, But We Still Have a Long Way to Go

Today was the first time I got to dive into the employment situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as your secretary of labor — aka my first “Jobs Day.” And the report included some good news: We added 916,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate dropped slightly, and we saw significant job growth across most sectors of the economy. 

But as told reporters and stakeholders across the country, we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Here are a few highlights from the report that I shared with the public today: 

Secretary Marty Walsh prepares for a live media interview.

I told Bloomberg Television that today’s report was very encouraging: The American economy added 916,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0%, from 6.2 percent in February. This is very good news for over 900,000 working people and their families, and with significant growth across most sectors of the economy — that means the recovery is building much-needed momentum.  

Secretary Marty Walsh films a live in-studio interview.

But as I shared with Spectrum News, disparities within the workforce continue to be a major concern. For example, the African American unemployment rate in March was 9.6 percent, and the Hispanic rate was 7.9 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for whites. And barriers to labor force participation for women continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic. We have a long way to go before we are fully recovered. 



And at the White House this afternoon, I explained that the American Rescue Plan is having positive effects on our economy and laying the foundation for continued recovery. But America’s economy remains in a deep hole, and the negative effects are experienced disproportionately by lower income workers and those who faced structural inequities prior to the pandemic.  

That’s why the American Jobs Plan proposed by President Biden this week is so vital to our future. It tackles each of these issues head-on, with bold action, and it offers a necessary path toward sustainable economic growth that is robust, competitive and inclusive. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to implement this historic plan. 

Marty Walsh is the secretary of labor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @SecMartyWalsh.