Washington, D.C. — Michael Madowitz, economist at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement today after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment situation figures for August 2017:
Last month, the economy added 156,000 jobs, wage growth remained steady at 2.5% over the last year, and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly at 4.4 percent. While the labor market continues to show momentum, the pace of job growth has slowed slightly over the last six months. This trend suggests that the Federal Reserve should continue to keep rates low and vigorously enforce financial regulations to ensure bubbles do not derail years of progress for Main Street America.
However, with a labor market that remains strong by most metrics, wage growth is stubbornly sluggish. As the country commemorates Labor Day, it is also worth remembering the important economic contributions that unions have made—and continue to make—on behalf of all American workers. Studies show that union wages are typically 10 percent to 20 percent higher than nonunion wages. Additionally, when unions press employers for higher wages, they don’t only lift incomes for union workers—rather, workers across the entire economy benefit. Most recently, the Fight for $15 movement has helped pave the way for higher wages in cities across the United States.
This Labor Day, progressives across the country must rededicate their efforts to fight campaigns—waged by conservatives in Congress and in governors’ mansions—to dismantle workers’ rights and collective bargaining.
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