Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls talked Wednesday about immigration, climate change, health care and more, but the current low unemployment rate of 3.6% didn’t come up during their debate.
In the so-called spin room after the two-hour debate, a couple of the candidates — former Maryland Rep. John Delaney of Delaware and current Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — talked about how they would have tackled the topic.
“Someone’s got to ask a question about that,” Delaney said, regarding the low joblessness.
“I would have answered it slightly differently. The problem right now is not jobs, it’s pay. There’s a bunch of jobs. You could always have more, but there are a bunch of jobs, unemployment’s low. But so many of them pay too little, which is why I’ve introduced my living wage proposal to actually do things like expand the workers’ tax credit and do things to help workers deal with the insufficient pay.”
Gabbard said the low unemployment “doesn’t paint the full picture.”
“It doesn’t show the reality of the struggles that so many families in this country are facing,” she told MarketWatch. “They may be counted as employed, but they are underemployed. They are not earning a living wage, or they’re working two or three jobs just to be able to put a roof over their heads or put food on the table. We have to stop looking at these overall numbers as though they are a reflection of the experience of American people’s lives. Instead, look at what they’re actually dealing with, and then bring our solutions.”
Related: Unemployment rate stays at 3.6% in May, but U.S. adds just 75,000 jobs
The 25 Democratic presidential hopefuls are making efforts to frame the relatively strong U.S. economy in a way that helps them wins back the White House. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet told MarketWatch on Wednesday that the key is the economy needs to actually work for everybody, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang emphasized that “GDP has a very low relationship with the lived experience of most Americans.”
The two-part debate in Miami continues on Thursday night, with 10 other Democratic presidential hopefuls due to take the stage.
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