Just a week before Labor Day, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez cited the "resilience" of the American worker and economic growth but also referred to "unfinished business" in the job recovery.
"We have the wind at our back, there's no doubt about it." Perez told CNBC in an interview with "On the Money." As proof, Perez pointed to "Sixty-five months in a row of private sector job growth," that has added "13 million jobs" to the economy.
"There are 5.2 million job openings right now; that's a bellwether of a very well-functioning economy, he said. "In the depths of the recession there were roughly seven job seekers for every job opening. Now there are 1.6 job seekers."
While citing positive job figures, the labor secretary also said "at the same time, the unfinished business is undeniable."
Despite the relative improvement of the job market, critics point to a declining labor participation rates, which currently hover around levels not seen in nearly 40 years. Other critics point to the quality of available jobs, with the manufacturing sector having lost more than a million jobs since the great recession. Simultaneously, generally lower-paying positions in food, retail and temporary work have soared.