With a better than expected June jobs report that added 222-thousand jobs, wage growth remained stagnant – an area that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta believes will begin to rise as more part-time jobs are converted into full-time jobs.
“There’s one interesting part in today’s report, which is the number of Americans in part-time jobs that are looking for fulltime jobs, and that number is still a little bit high – that number is around 3.3% and that’s important because there’s still a little bit of slack in the economy,” Acosta said during an interview on FOX Business. “So, as we look forward, that’s a number that I’m going to follow to see when the market really tightens and we start to see upward pressure on wages.”
President Trump has had very minimal success thus far in fulfilling his economic promises, however Acosta believes he will get his agenda passed and that is evident in that “Americans are feeling good about the economy, they’re feeling good about where we’re going.”
The president is also focused on closing the skilled workers gap, an issue the Department of Labor is “really focused on,” said Acosta.
“There are currently six million job openings, and employers are saying we want to hire more but we can’t find individuals with the skills that we need,” Acosta said. “The president last month signed an executive order setting up the mechanism to start that infrastructure, and here at the Department of Labor we’re working on it right away. We’ve already started getting that infrastructure in place and it’s so critical because Americans should learn the skills that get them real jobs.”
Despite the sluggish wage gains, Acosta was pleased with the June jobs report that beat economists’ expectations.
“We had great news today, robust job growth, upward revisions for the last two months that make the last two months even better than when they were reported, the job openings are going to allow Americans to get new and better jobs, especially with his [President Trump’s] apprenticeship program and wage earnings will increase as the economy continues to tighten, particularly as the number of part time jobs convert to full-time jobs.”