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Maryland's Tom Perez, on Heading the Department of Labor

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Tom Perez.  Credit: Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 9, 2013

Last week, the U-S Department of Labor announced the federal unemployment rate went down in August by a tenth of a percent, to 7.3 percent.  But that decrease isn’t because people are getting jobs—it’s because they’re dropping out of the workforce.

The federal Labor Department is headed by Thomas Perez, who served as Maryland’s secretary of labor, licensing and regulation from 2007 to 2009.  Before that was a member of the Montgomery County Council. Sheilah talks with him about what he's doing to halt the shrinking workforce. 

They also discuss President Obama's initiative to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour--and the possibility of Congress passing immigration reform.  Perez is the son of Dominican immigrants, and President Obama's only Latino Cabinet member.  He says immigration reform is crucial to lowering unemployment in the US.


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