U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh issued the following statement on the December 2021 Employment Situation Report:
“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 199,000 jobs in the month of December, and the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent in November. This marks the first time unemployment has been under four percent since the pandemic began, and the largest ever one-year drop in the unemployment rate on record. With strong, steady job growth every month of the Biden-Harris Administration, we added 6.4 million jobs in 2021, reaching 84 percent of the jobs lost at the start of the pandemic recovered, and empowering workers to secure higher wages, especially for low wage workers.
“In the Department of Labor, we are focused on building an inclusive recovery that lifts up all workers and communities, and that means identifying and addressing persistent inequities as reflected in an increase in Black unemployment in December. We are investing in equity and diversity in job training programs and career services, strengthening health and safety, wage and anti-discrimination protections for the most vulnerable workers, and making sure the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates good jobs for every community. We are devoted to empowering all workers morning, noon and night.
“This work is especially important as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 impacts communities across the country this month, including many workers and workplaces. We have the tools to keep people safe, including mask guidance, increased testing capacity, and vaccines that work to prevent severe illness. I urge anyone who is eligible and has not received a vaccine or a booster yet to visit vaccines.gov and find a vaccination site near you. And I urge all employers to provide the flexibility and support necessary to help workers get vaccinated, protect their health, and continue our historic, worker-centered recovery.”