The August jobs report tells a story of an economy slowly and steadily continuing to heal, with 169,000 new jobs added. We have now had 42 straight months of private-sector job growth, with nearly 7.5 million private-sector jobs created over that time. At 7.3 percent, the unemployment rate continues to remain stable and has now been below 8 percent for 12 consecutive months.
Many sectors are showing renewed signs of life, as we see job growth across the board. There were notable increases in retail trade (+44,000) and education and health services (+43,000) in August.
But we have to do more to pick up the pace of this recovery. We are not satisfied with an economy performing at anything less than its full potential. President Obama has proposed a better bargain for the middle class that will invigorate the economy and create jobs at a faster clip. It includes strong investments in education, manufacturing and infrastructure -- both our physical infrastructure, like roads and bridges; and our human capital infrastructure, the skills and talents of our people.
During this week when we honored the dignity and resilience of American workers on Labor Day, let's all rededicate ourselves to building an economy worthy of their sacrifice. What keeps me up at night is the reality that too many people are finding the rungs on the ladder of opportunity further and further apart. We don't have a spare American. My job as labor secretary is to make sure we have a labor market that utilizes the skills of all our people, allowing everyone to reach their highest and best dreams.