December 8, 2022
The Honorable Martin J. Walsh
Secretary of Labor, United States
The U.S. economy has faced its fair share of issues since 2020, between the pandemic, rising gas prices, and job insecurity. As the country recovers, experts are looking into infrastructure investments to bridge these ongoing gaps. As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Forward: The Future of Talent event, The Honorable Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, explained how the U.S. is strengthening our nation's workforce to improve our economy.
The U.S. Is Preparing for Long-Term Success
According to The Honorable Walsh, the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in November of 2022.
“There are over 1 million more jobs in America than there were before the pandemic began,” he said. “The unemployment rate remains near a record low. Overall, we've created over 10.5 million jobs since President Biden took office.”
The Honorable Walsh noted that this growth is more than any administration in history has achieved.
“Our economy grew at 2.9% last quarter — an even stronger pace than we first thought,” he continued. “Gas prices are down and continue to fall. Black Friday and Cyber Monday both set new records for sales. We’re making real progress in tackling inflation while transitioning to a period of steady, stable economic growth.”
While this growth provides hope during an uncertain time, the Biden administration is seeking to sustain its efforts and prepare the economy for longer-term success. For example, investments in the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law aim to strengthen the country’s education and infrastructure systems.
So far, according to The Honorable Walsh, there has been $183 billion in project funding “to strengthen communities and unlock economic development.”
“The Ships and Science Act has spread over $100 billion in private-sector manufacturing investment,” he continued. “Investment in the Inflation Reduction Act represents America's largest-ever investment in clean energy.”
“I know the business community's focused on the challenge of hiring the talent you need to fill these jobs,” The Honorable Walsh emphasized. “We have focused on that challenge with you.”
Connecting Schools With Apprentice Programs and Technical Education Can Strengthen the Labor Force
According to The Honorable Walsh, the U.S. is working to connect schools with apprentice programs to provide children and young adults with the proper education.
“We're expanding apprenticeships to new industries, [and] we're investing in programs that support women, workers of color, workers of disabilities, veterans, and people who need a second chance,” he explained. “We're using apprenticeship to advance equity and bring more people into our labor force … [and] to help meet the challenges we face in our economy, from strengthening supply chains to meeting worker shortages.”
The Honorable Walsh noted that during National Apprenticeship Week, the U.S. Department of Labor partnered with employers to launch new programs throughout the country. The programs involved various industries, like accounting and finance, cyber security and information technology, and manufacturing construction.
“I invite you to launch or expand registered apprenticeship opportunities and grow the talent pipeline in your business,” he said. “I invite you to learn more about the incentives that are available by visiting apprenticeship.gov, and I invite you to reach out to my team at the Department of Labor for advice and partnership.”
“We are eager to work with you to invest in America's workers and invest in your company's future,” The Honorable Walsh added. “We're just getting started.”
From the Series