President Barack Obama signed two executive actions on Tuesday, April 8 in the campaign for equal pay. Although these executive actions only apply to companies with federal contracts, Obama is encouraging them throughout the country.
One, called “Equal Pay Day,” is a push from Obama on receiving equal pay by making it easier to learn what colleagues are earning. The action further prohibits firing or demoting employees who discuss their pay. The second action is an instruction for the secretary of labor to collect data on compensation, including by race and sex.
These executive orders follow the March unemployment report that was released on Friday, April 4. Businesses appear to have passed their peak from 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private sector added 192,000 jobs, dropping unemployment rate to 6.7 percent.
Many people remain optimistic about the economy, citing the return to the previous peak before the recession can now mean that the economy can expand fully.
Others are not as confident in the reported numbers. There are still 10.5 million Americans who remain unemployed, as the unemployment rates now do not factor in the population growth, according to CNN.
The numbers from recent unemployment rates do not show that while short-term unemployment rates are low, long-term unemployment rates are still high. Furthermore, fewer people are quitting their jobs, which is a sign of a healthy economy, where people feel secure enough to simply quit.
While some businesses are at a hiring standstill, Ernest & Young, a major accounting firm, has reported to The New York Times that they are only looking for more growth—particularly from college graduates.
College graduates and those with professional degrees give reason for why the unemployment rate for college graduates is standing at 3.4 percent, compared to 6.3 percent for high school graduates.
Editor’s Note: Information from CNN and The New York Times was used in this article.