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Harkin: October Jobs Report Shows Continued Positive Economic Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement on the October employment report showing that the economy added 214,000 jobs last month, with the national unemployment rate continuing to decrease, falling from 5.9 percent to 5.8 percent, its lowest point in six years. 

“The October jobs report represents yet another indication that our economy continues to grow and is moving in the right direction. Americans have now seen 56 straight months of jobs growth and the unemployment rate has now fallen to 5.8 percent,” Harkin said. “The job growth, while positive, isn’t enough.  We also need to take steps to ensure that job growth is accompanied by wage growth.  That is why Congress must continue to enact policies that help grow our whole economy, like raising the minimum wage, putting billions of dollars in workers’ pockets and pumping money into local economies. Moving forward with smart economic policies like raising the minimum wage is key to enabling workers to succeed and helping the middle class to drive our economy forward.”

As Chairman of the HELP Committee, Senator Harkin has been a leading voice for policies that will strengthen the middle class and grow the whole economy. Harkin is the Senate author of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, a bill that would raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three steps, then provide for automatic, annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. It would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

Momentum to raise the federal minimum wage continued this week. On Election Day, voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota overwhelmingly voted in favor of raising the minimum wage in their state. Since 2013, 17 states have acted to raise their minimum wage. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Harkin’s bill will result in raises for 28 million workers, or one in five American workers, and create 85,000 new jobs as the raise is phased in over three years.