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Americans to Observe Labor Day on Monday

  • VOA News

FILE - A help wanted sign is posted at a tractor dealership in Ashland, Va., June 9, 2015.

FILE - A help wanted sign is posted at a tractor dealership in Ashland, Va., June 9, 2015.

Americans observe the Labor Day federal holiday on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that Labor Day is a day "we set aside every year to honor the hardworking men and women who fought for so many of the rights that we take for granted today."

He said the people involved in the labor movement worked "not just for a bigger paycheck for themselves, but for more security and prosperity for the folks working next to them as well." He said, "That's how we built the great American middle class."

Obama said "Over the past five and a half years, our businesses have created 13.1 million new jobs in total - the longest streak of job creation on record."

Unemployment lowest since 2008

In a report Friday from the Labor Department, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in seven-and-a-half years in August; 5.1 percent.

That is a drop of two-tenths of a percent from the previous month.

The Labor Department also said the economy had a net gain of 173,000 jobs, which is less than most economists had predicted.

This report is a key part of the data that leaders of the U.S. central bank will consider as they decide how soon and how much to raise the benchmark interest rate. It has been at a record low level since 2008 in a bid to boost economic growth during and following the financial crisis.

White House economic adviser Jason Furman said the economy gained 8 million jobs over the past three years, but warned it could face "headwinds" from the global economy.

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