Despite a disappointing April jobs report released on Friday that showed job growth in the United States slowing, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said he is optimistic about the future and not concerned about minimum wage impacting employment.
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Using The Evergreen State as an example, Perez told FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman: “If the rest of the nation had Washington State’s job growth numbers over the last 20 years, our economy would be even better off. So this [minimum wage hike] hypothesis has been debunked with regularity.”
Perez said while “70% of [U.S.] GDP growth is consumption,” Americans making the minimum of $7.25 per hour won’t be able have enough money to spend on products.
However, the labor secretary said he remains optimistic about employment and job growth.
“Long-term unemployed as the percentage of the overall unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been in seven years,” Perez said. “Two thirds of the reduction, roughly, in the unemployment rate over the last year had been from the ranks of the long-term unemployed… For me that’s very heartening because that tells me that labor markets are tightening. That gives leverage for workers and that means we’ll continue to move in the right direction.”
Perez also addressed speculation that he could be Hillary Clinton’s potential choice for vice president.
“I have not spoken to anybody about that and I deal in the reality that I have 259 days until the weekend. I’m not counting the days. I want to make every day count.”