Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the February 2019 Employment Situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The labor market added just 20,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, with wage growth up 3.4 percent over the year. Slow and steady progress in the labor market has continued month to month, so while a big miss on the top line number of jobs added isn’t cause for significant concern just yet, we need the picture to improve considerably before we can say this economy is truly helping all Americans.
In a labor market like today’s, the experience of disabled workers—who often face intersecting forms of hiring discrimination—is a useful lens to gauge our progress. Disabled workers of every race and ethnicity face dramatically higher unemployment rates, even today, with unemployment rates two- to three-times higher than white, nondisabled workers.
Our economic policies must do much more to promote opportunities for disabled workers—many of whom are still working for subminimum wages as low as $2.50 an hour—and workers from racial groups and geographic regions who consistently experience discrimination in the labor market. So far, the Trump administration has moved in the opposite direction, eliminating overtime pay for millions while wasting public resources and political capital to needlessly cut taxes for our most profitable corporations.
Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-February 2019 Jobs Day Release by By Nathan Smith, Galen Hendricks, Daniella Zessoules, Olugbenga Ajilore, and Michael Madowitz
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