U.S. Labor Secretary Visits Cleveland

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Secretary Thomas Perez began at the City Club of Cleveland by sharing the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed a strong upturn in the nation’s job picture.

“July was the sixth straight month north of 200,000, the first time that’s happened since 1997," said Perez. "All told, we’ve had now 53 consecutive months of private sector job growth.”

As to insuring a strong jobs forecast for the country, Perez pushed for increasing the national minimum wage to over $10 an hour. He also wants manufacturers to look into the American Apprenticeship Grant, a $100 million initiative being launched this fall.

“The president has an ambitious agenda to double the number of registered apprenticeships across this country…and apprenticeship is simply not for the traditional, skilled trades. We have apprenticeship opportunities in IT, in cybersecurity, in health…and these are tickets to the middle class.”

There are currently 375,000 registered apprenticeships in the U.S.

Cleveland is one of five cities the Labor Secretary is hitting before Labor Day. While the national job figures are strong, Ohio itself led the country for job losses in July….to the tune of 12,400 jobs.

Perez dismissed those numbers.

“One month doesn’t make a trend. And you look at Ohio over the last twelve months, (it's) clearly moving in the right direction. The overall unemployment rate I think is 5.7 percent. And manufacturing is outperforming the nation…and the nation is doing well. And by the way, these are good middle-class jobs.”

Ohio’s unemployment rate is still lower than the national rate, which is at 6.2 percent.

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