Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–September 4, 2015. Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the August 2015 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS:
Today’s jobs report brings more evidence that our economy is continuing down the road to recovery. Last month, the U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs—marking 66 straight months of private-sector job growth—and the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent. But with Labor Day around the corner, the BLS data are also a reminder that the benefits of the recovery have yet to reach many everyday workers. The majority of income gains since the end of the recession has gone to those at the very top, and an analysis released just this week suggests that take-home pay for Americans in our lowest-paid industries has actually dropped since 2009. With Congress set to return to work next week, it is evident—although unlikely, given its track record—that its focus should be on improving the economic outcomes of working- and middle-class Americans.
This month’s jobs report is especially critical because it marks the last data release prior to the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC. While the Fed has targeted a 2 percent inflation rate as a benchmark, the fact remains that inflation, core inflation, and inflation expectations all remain well below the Fed’s stated target. The data presented today suggest that, as Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said at the June 2015 FOMC meeting, “room for further improvement remains.” Raising interest rates would further set back our goal of a full and healthy economic recovery.