STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the April 2019 Jobs Report
Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released April’s employment situation, showing 263,000 jobs gained over the month, an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, and wage growth of 3.2 percent over the year. In response, Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement:
Today’s employment situation shows a labor market that continues in a positive direction, even as investment and household spending have decelerated as the sugar high from the tax cuts has faded. But there are some clouds in the economic forecast—most observably from slowing housing and auto sectors—and erratic policy moves and Federal Reserve nominations hardly inspire confidence that this White House is prepared to confront any potential downturn. Still, the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and job growth remains strong, even as wage growth somehow remains mediocre.
There also isn’t much evidence that the president is doing anything meaningful on the policy front to boost wages and help working people, save for crossing his fingers and praying that the Fed cuts interest rates. In fact, his Labor Department has just given employers in the gig economy the green light to misclassify their workers as independent contractors, denying them minimum wage and overtime protection and allowing their bosses to avoid employer contributions to Social Security. This ruling goes in the same direction as President Trump’s rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is also stacked against workers. Trump is talking about funding long-overdue federal investments in infrastructure, which could support employment and boost the economy if done correctly; but don’t hold your breath.
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