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Latest Jobs Report Highlights Current Challenges

The latest jobs report out of Washington shows total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 428,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh explains more.

“We’re about 95 percent recovered from the pandemic, we have seen great job growth since President Biden has taken office in the leisure and hospitality industry we’ve seen wage growth by 12.6% percent, which is certainly outpacing inflation we’re seeing transportation and warehouse sectors, is now 12 percent above pre pandemic levels so seeing growth in those areas in leisure and hospitality, still remains about eight percent lower, that’s where a lot of businesses are struggling right now, and we have work to do there.”

One of the current challenges is ensuring there is enough labor to create food security and national security.

“Secretary Vilsack has an amazing grasp on the issues of food insecurity and supply chain and food production in the country, certainly has worked with myself and Secretary Buttigieg on creating better pathways into trucking, an industry that people automatically connect to supply chain, but it goes much deeper than that. We created a program here in the Department of Labor and Transportation for a pathway into the trucking industry, we cut down significantly the timeline, so if a company wants to sign up for the Pre Apprentice Programs that we’re working on, It’s 48 hours and we have 400 companies looking to get into this, we have over 120 companies already signed up for Pre Apprentice Programs and apprenticeship programs to get more people in that industry. The second piece is about making sure that as we think about investing in job training and workforce development, we’re investing in rural America as well and we’re investing around agriculture and food and food production.”

And a recent human smuggling ring discovered at a Georgia onion farm has led to new calls to take a fresh look at the H-2A program according to Walsh.

“I quite honestly think we have to take a fresh look at immigration as a whole. I think that there’s an opportunity, there’s a bill right now in Congress, immigration reform bill. Oftentimes when we talk about immigration, we get caught up in what’s happening at the southern border. The reality of the situation is that we have 12 million jobs in America, we have six million people roughly looking for jobs, and now’s the time to look at immigration, do some really good strong immigration reform, create a pathway to citizenship for the people that are in this country, to put some restrictions and some regulation on the border so people understand that, but create a pathway into the United States of America.”

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