STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the September 2015 Jobs Report
Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the September 2015 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. According to the BLS, the economy added 142,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1 percent.
The September 2015 jobs report reveals that the economic recovery continues, but flat wage growth underscores the need to do more to tackle economic inequality, as the benefits of the recovery have disproportionately flowed to those at the top of the income scale.
A new CAP analysis released this week revealed that over the past five decades, women’s rising earnings have reduced inequality. This finding strongly suggests that policies aimed at increasing and supporting women’s labor force participation would help reduce the nation’s staggering levels of income inequality—and give the economy even more room to grow as it approaches full employment. Shamefully, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee paid time off for working parents to care for a new child, as well as one of the only high-income nations that does not guarantee workers paid sick leave. The lack of strong work-family policies particularly affects women, who not only take on the most unpaid work at home, but also make up a greater share of low-wage workers. Just 14 percent of female low-wage workers have access to paid sick days.
It is evident that combating income inequality will require more than a patchwork approach. We need a comprehensive set of policies—one that includes support for women’s labor force participation through access to affordable, quality child care, as well as paid leave and sick days—to build an inclusive economy that allows women and men alike to thrive in the workforce.
While the labor market recovery continues, there are no signs of the economy overheating. With saber rattling over yet another government shutdown or a default on the national debt later this year, this is another reason the Federal Reserve needs to keep monetary policy loose in order to lean against fiscal policy heading in the wrong direction.
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