STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the March 2018 Employment Report

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Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the March 2018 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

With financial markets showing increased volatility, job growth in March was underwhelming, with 103,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.1 percent.  Despite the promises made by President Trump and congressional Republican leaders about the impacts of their massive tax cut, wage growth was also modest, at 2.7 percent a year.

It’s important that the administration, Congress, and the Fed keep their collective focus on a healthy job market, because millions of Americans continue to face discrimination and barriers to employment. As a recent CAP column points out, for instance, prime-age workers with disabilities still face double-digit unemployment rates—a problem the Fed is worsening by raising rates with no signs of inflation present.

There are many steps policymakers can take to help people with disabilities enter, re-enter, or remain in the labor market, including by raising the minimum wage and eliminating the subminimum wage for people with disabilities; expanding Medicaid; and strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), among other solutions. Tightening the labor market by keeping interest rates low would help these workers find jobs while delivering stronger wage growth to all workers. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what Chair Jerome Powell’s Fed—having recently hiked interest rates—has indicated it expects to do for the rest of the year.

Related resource: “The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-March 2018 Jobs Release” by Annie McGrew, Leonard Scott IV, and Michael Madowitz

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Allison Preiss at apreiss@americanprogress.org.

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