Jobs Report Underscores Need for Immigration Reform, Says Commerce Chief

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told CNBC’s “Morning Call” that June’s employment report shows the economy can grow without reigniting inflation.

“We’re very happy with [the report],” Gutierrez said Friday. “It confirms that we’ve got a great economy, we’re creating jobs. Those jobs are earning more -- our real wages are up. The signs that we see for the second quarter suggest that we’re going to have good growth for the rest of the year. We should be very pleased with it. This is very good news.”

U.S. employers added 132,000 new jobs in June, topping Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 120,000. In addition, the Labor Department said 75,000 more jobs than previously estimated were added in April in May.

Guiterrez said the strong jobs growth came against a backdrop of rising energy prices.

“I think we’ve shown that we can grow, that we can create jobs, we can grow wages and still keep inflation under control,” Gutierrez said.

He also said the job market underscores the need for immigration reform.

“What I hear from companies and small businesses is you either have to give us a legal channel for workers or you’re forcing me to hire illegally or forcing me to go out of business,” Gutierrez said. “I think what we’re going to see, unfortunately, is potentially businesses going out of business because we don’t have a legal channel for workers.”

He said “immigration reform is just a matter of time” -- and noted the issue is more complicated than just building a fence along the Mexican border.