August 30, 2013
Labor Day Statement by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

"On Labor Day, we pay tribute and say thanks to the people who build our nation's strength, character and prosperity. American workers are the most industrious, the most capable and the most diligent in the world. There is no challenge they don't embrace, no hardship they can't overcome.

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"Our grit and determination has been put to the test recently, as we've endured the most crippling recession in 80 years. But now we are turning the corner. In the past 41 months, we've created 7.3 million jobs. The auto industry, which was flat on its back a few years ago, is surging again. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2008. And the economy continues to grow as we provide affordable health care for every American. But there's no question we can and must do more.

"Our common agenda must be jobs, jobs, jobs. Working together, we can unleash the economy's full potential, secure a better bargain for the middle class and expand opportunities for everyone.

"Over the past 100 years, one federal agency has been workers' strongest ally and fiercest advocate: the U.S. Department of Labor. Our job is to make the American Dream a reality for all. To do that, we are investing in higher education and working closely with employers to provide workers with the state-of-the-art skills they need to succeed in 21st century jobs. We're making sure workers come home safely to their families at the end of every day, partnering with responsible employers to ensure the most exacting standards on occupational safety and health. We're continuing our strong efforts and unparalleled commitment to protect workers' benefits, so they can retire with dignity and security. And we're fighting for an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. It's a moral and economic imperative that we raise the federal minimum wage. People who work full-time in America shouldn't live in poverty.

"On Labor Day, we reflect on the men and women whose heads, hearts and hands have made ours the strongest economy the world has ever known. To meet the challenges ahead, we must draw inspiration from their stories. We must emulate their strength and resilience. We must summon their dignity and their courage."

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