WASHINGTON—In what is being touted by the Labor Department as extremely positive news, the nation's available labor rate has reached double digits for the first time in 26 years, bringing the total number of potentially employable Americans to an impressive 15.7 million.
"This is such an exciting time to be an employer in America," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, adding that every single day 6,500 more citizens join America's growing possible workforce. "There's such a massive and diverse pool of job-ready Americans to choose from. And each month the number only gets higher."
"While our current available labor rate of 10.2 percent isn't quite as robust as it was in 1982 or 1933, we're happy to say that reaching that benchmark is no longer out of the realm of possibility," Solis continued.
According to the Department of Labor's report, nearly 200,000 more Americans suddenly became fully hirable in October alone. And November saw unprecedented gains in the number of high-quality auto workers, teachers, lawyers, part-time retailers, and even doctors who could be employed.
The report also explained that, because of the booming would-be-employee market, college graduates are having an easier time than ever joining the ranks of those ready and able to receive monetary compensation for work performed at some point.
Moreover, it found that, while all Americans were benefiting in some way from the new trend, the nation's African Americans appeared to be in the best position to take advantage of the upward swing in potential employment, with 15.7 percent of all black citizens now situated to have a chance of becoming wage-earners someday.
"We are very lucky to be living in a time when so many people can just go out whenever they feel like it and get a job application," Deputy Labor Secretary Seth Harris announced. "Compare that to the late '60s or late '90s, when the available labor rate plummeted to 4 percent and employers didn't have their pick of millions upon millions of Americans dying to put on a hard hat or suit jacket for practically peanuts."
Added Harris, "Those were scary times in America."
Though Labor sources said the new figures were encouraging, officials were quick to point out that the exact number of those now possessing the capacity to be offered work someday is actually much higher.
"Our findings don't take into account all the men and women who are available for work but haven't applied for a job in the last month," Solis said. "That's another 2.4 million Americans out there who can proudly say they wake up every day, get their kids ready for school, and then sit in their living rooms praying for the phone to ring."
Solis told reporters she is also encouraged by the vast number of citizens in every state who are willing to take jobs beneath their personal dignity and education level.
The Labor Secretary cited the fact that California boasts an impressive available labor force of more than 2 million citizens, while in Oregon, 11.5 percent of the state is ready to fill out a growing stack of empty W-2 forms. In Michigan, more than 15 percent of all citizens said they could start work either today, tomorrow, or right this very second if that's what it takes.
"I'll do anything," said Ohio resident Garret Landry, who was last not available for steady employment more than 10 months ago. "Seriously, anything. Cars? I could learn how to fix cars. Manual labor? An office job? Just say the word and I'm there."
"I'll transcribe what you're writing for $50," Landry added. "Okay, $25."