Labor Policy is Jobs Policy
Labor Day offers Americans a chance to appreciate the tremendous value of America’s workers and job creators.
At the Department of Labor, where I serve, we are proud of the hard work Americans have put in to build today’s historically strong labor market, and of the regulatory reform we’re doing to ensure opportunities continue to expand for years to come.
Here at Labor, we cherish the dignity of work that should accompany every paycheck.
Since President Donald Trump took office, 5.7 million jobs have been created and more people are working in America than ever before.
During the Trump administration, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 1969, the year America first put a man on the moon.
This job growth has led to bigger paychecks. For 12 straight months, annual wage growth has been at or above 3%. And 7.3 million open jobs means that we have even more opportunity for Americans to find their career path.
Building on this positive momentum, more than 350 job creators around the nation have committed to upskilling, reskilling, and providing more job opportunities to more than 13 million individuals by signing the president’s Pledge to America’s Workers.
The work experience that people gain today will change the trajectory of their lives — along with their children’s lives — for years to come.
Another advantage of today’s strong labor market is that employers are realizing the vast potential of individuals who they may have overlooked previously. This includes individuals returning from the criminal justice system, overcoming substance abuse, facing long-term unemployment, or worried that they lack necessary job skills.
The Labor Department has many programs and enforcement arms under its authority. But the one unifying mission behind everything that we do is simple — increasing opportunity for people of all backgrounds to build lasting careers.
One aspect of increasing work opportunities is allowing job creators to do what they do best — provide Americans with jobs. As part of our ongoing efforts to cut red tape, we ranked second among federal departments last year for deregulating, with $3.28 billion in cost savings.
Besides getting rid of job-killing, unnecessary regulations, another major priority is bringing clarity to regulations through relying on a transparent rulemaking process. This focus on transparency involves substantial public input and allows the department to protect workers while limiting the burdens that regulations place on job creators.
This emphasis on protecting workers while encouraging job growth is why the Labor Department launched the Office of Compliance Initiatives in August 2018. Building off the success of Employer.gov, the office partners with the Labor Department’s enforcement agencies to help businesses — especially small businesses — understand and comply with employment laws and regulations.
The new office’s innovative work allows our agencies to focus time and resources on bad actors, while acknowledging that the vast majority of employers want to follow the law and provide career growth opportunities to their employees.
The Labor Department also partners with other agencies throughout the federal government to run Worker.gov, a one-stop shop for workers to understand their rights, address common workplace concerns, and find the resources or assistance that they need.
The Department of Labor’s actions during the Trump administration have helped workers and job creators by increasing affordable retirement savings options, allowing more Americans to access portable health reimbursement accounts, and making it easier for small businesses to offer health care, to name a few.
But we are not finished with our work.
Top priorities in our regulatory plan include expanding apprenticeships to new industries, helping workers hurt by foreign trade, revising overtime pay requirements, increasing union financial transparency, and encouraging businesses to offer employees more job-related benefits.
Our country is at its strongest when the workforce is strong. Job creators are hungry to hire, unemployment is plummeting across the board, and paychecks are growing.
To America’s workers and job creators, this Labor Day is an opportunity to be proud of your hard work.
Jonathan Berry is the principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.
Copyright 2019 The Daily Signal