Anthony Puzder, the former chief executive of CKE Restaurants who was President Donald Trump’s first pick for U.S. labor secretary, said the new administration is having many positive effects on the economy.
The most important indicator is the rise in household income, which gained more in the first three months of the Trump presidency than during the entire seven and a half years of the Obama recovery. Median household income has surged $1,300 since the beginning of the year to $59,361, compared with a $1,000 gain during the Obama years.
“President Trump’s focus on reining in the administrative state has significantly reduced both the number of existing regulations and the output of new regulations, driving business optimism,” Puzder said in an opinion piece for The Hill. “Unlike policies that increase the oppressiveness of government, policies that incentivize business growth (like deregulation) produce jobs, opportunity and prosperity.”
Puzder in February withdrew his nomination to be labor secretary as Republican senators withdrew support. Conservative publications such as the National Review and Breitbart zeroed in on Puzder’s employment of an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper. A spokesman for Puzder, George Thompson, said his treatment had been “an unprecedented smear campaign.
Puzder said more work needs to be done to improve the skills of people who want to get jobs.
“In May there were 5.6 million Americans who were not in the labor force that ‘want a job now.’ One major obstacle they face is what experts call the ‘skills gap,’ or too few laborers with the skills needed for the open positions,” he said. “To address this concern, President Trump is emphasizing workforce development.”
Trump plans to boost support for apprenticeship programs and accreditation for vocational training so that people can qualify for jobs without wasting money on a four-year degree.
“Working with the private sector to train Americans for the jobs that exist will help get people back into the workforce,” Puzder said.
On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 237,000 for the week ended June 10. Economists had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 242,000 in the latest week.
Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 119 straight weeks, Bloomberg News reported. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.