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 September employment report showing that the economy added 248,000 jobs last month, with the national unemployment rate continuing to decrease, falling from 6.1 percent to 5.9 percent, its lowest point in six years.
“Today’s jobs report is a strong reminder that our economy is on the right track. With 55 straight months of jobs growth and the unemployment rate falling to its lowest point in six years, it is clear that we are moving in the right direction. But we know there is still more work ahead,” Harkin said. “Congress must continue to enact policies that help middle class families in Iowa and across the country, like raising the minimum wage and strengthening the manufacturing sector. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 will give more than 300,000 Iowans a raise, putting money back into the local economy and ensuring that we continue to see strong economic growth in the months ahead.”
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. 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.