By Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
December 30, 2019
Blue collar workers are rising. After decades of their being left behind, President Donald Trump has helped grow a full-blown blue-collar boom that can be felt on manufacturing floors in Ohio, at steel production facilities in Pennsylvania and construction sites in Wisconsin. Instead of dismissing America’s blue-collar workers, as politicians had done for decades, the Trump administration has fought for them and won.
The evidence is clear. Paychecks and employment rolls are growing in America’s heartland. The unemployment rate stands at 3.6%, a near-historic low for the past half-century. An average of 174,400 Americans earned jobs in the past 12 months, and more than 100,000 jobs have been added in 30 of 33 months since the president took office. In total, an overwhelming 6.7 million jobs have been added since President Trump’s election.
The booming economy has especially benefited Americans without traditional four-year college degrees. In October, the unemployment rate for those with some college or an associate’s degree remained below 3%. President Trump understands that a college degree is not the only, or even the best, path to success in the labor market, and America’s businesses increasingly recognize that too.
Rising earnings translate into higher household incomes. According to the Census Bureau’s Income and Poverty Report for 2018, median household income in the U.S. rose to $63,179, nearly the highest level on record.
Notably, average incomes for the bottom 60% of households rose faster than incomes of the top 40% between 2017 and 2018. Naturally, as incomes rise, poverty rates fall. In 2018, the poverty rate fell to its lowest level since 2001, with historic lows for African Americans and Hispanics.
Moreover, American industry has thrived under President Trump, and so it should be no surprise that America’s blue-collar workers have received the lion’s share of the wage gains during the Trump administration.
At the same time, inflation has remained low, compounding the benefits of higher incomes for American workers. Retail sales were up 4% in the third quarter of 2019 over 2018 numbers. Confidence in the U.S. economy remains high, and more American workers have access to the American dream of owning a home.
Even as these workers, the backbone of the American labor force, thrive once again, the Trump administration is helping them advance in their careers as well.
Through the Pledge to America’s Workers, Trump truly created a movement behind company-funded training that has so far resulted in 14.3 million new training and enhanced career opportunities across more than 300 companies and organizations. This movement is quickly expanding. Companies large and small are making commitments, including Google’s recent pledge to create 250,000 opportunities for American workers and Walmart’s pledge to create 1 million. The National Association of Manufacturers has committed to nearly 1.2 million new opportunities, and the American Trucking Associations has committed to 50,000 new opportunities for our nation’s long-haul truckers.
Numerous small machinery and manufacturing companies, like Youngstown’s City Machine Technologies and Douglassville, Pennsylvania’s American Crane & Equipment Corp., are committing to creating new opportunities for workers as well.
This effort will ensure America’s blue-collar workers have the opportunities to stay ahead of the job market and know that they are investing in the skills employers want.
The evidence demonstrates that the Trump administration has created an economy that is benefiting our nation’s workers after decades of neglect. Instead of furthering policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of America’s working class, the president has implemented an agenda that has increased employment rolls, boosted pay and put American workers in the driver’s seat.
As promised, President Trump has fought for everyday Americans, and unlike politicians before him, he has followed through on his promises.
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