Rep. Engel: December Jobs Numbers Strong, Focus Must Turn To Wage Growth

Rep. Engel: December Jobs Numbers Strong, Focus Must Turn To Wage Growth

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is encouraged by strong jobs growth in December, but reemphasized the need to grow stagnant wages for American workers.

December marked the 70th consecutive month of private sector job growth, with the U.S. economy adding 292,000 new jobs. The numbers from October and November were also revised upward. The unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0 percent, though average hourly wages were flat month-to-month.

“With a gain of more than 2.6 million new jobs, 2015 was the second best year for American job growth since 1999, trailing only 2014. Over the past two years, the U.S. economy has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs each and every month,” Congressman Engel said. “Unemployment, which stands at 5 percent, has been cut in half since the darkest days of the Great Recession. We have come a long, long way since 2008, but we still have some work to do to make sure American workers feel the recovery in their paychecks.

“There has been a sustained push in New York for a $15 minimum wage - a push I have strongly supported. But while New York is leading the way, working Americans all across the country could use a boost. That’s why I am a cosponsor of legislation that would raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years.

“With the economy hiring again, it’s time for Congress to do something to address flat wages. Healthy wage growth would give American families the flexibility and spending power they need to drive economic growth in 2016. Let’s start the new year off on the right foot by giving Americans a raise.”