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Labor Secretary Walsh says lack of U.S. workers is 'bigger threat' than inflation

(Bloomberg) – Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said the U.S. will eventually need to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, saying a lack of available workers to fill jobs is a bigger threat to the economy than inflation.

“We don’t have enough workers in the United States of America to fill all the jobs there,” Walsh said in an interview with MSNBC Tuesday. “At this point, it’s a bigger threat to our economy than inflation and recession because we need to fill these jobs.”

Walsh pointed to immigration reform as a long-term solution to the problem . He said lawmakers needed to create additional legal pathways for immigrants to apply for visas and focus on how immigrants could be used “in a positive way.”

“If we had a pathway visa that people could apply for and come into the country for three months, six months, nine months, maybe five years, then we wouldn’t have encountered us in our country Great challenge done by the border,” Walsh added.

Read more: U.S. employers grow 315, 000 as more workers join the workforce

Nonfarm payrolls increased 315, 000 in August, a Labor Department report on Friday showed. The unemployment rate rose to a six-month high of 3.7 percent, the first increase since January, as participation climbed. Still-low unemployment means the Fed will continue to consider rate hikes as it seeks to lower inflation.

Opinion polls show the economy is the top concern for voters ahead of November’s midterm elections. Control of Congress will be determined.

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