Business

US Labor secretary focusing on income inequality

Cambridge Naturals owners Michael Kanter and Elizabeth Stagl showed US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez around their store.
Cambridge Naturals owners Michael Kanter and Elizabeth Stagl showed US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez around their store.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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What gets US Secretary Thomas E. Perez out of bed in the morning? Statistics like this: The unemployment rate for black men remains nearly double that of white men.

That’s just one measure of the inequality that Perez and his boss, President Barack Obama, say has become one of the most pressing issues facing American society and a focus of the administration’s economic policies. Nearly five years after the recession ended, many low- and middle-income families Americans are struggling with joblessness and stagnant wages, even as those at the top of the income scale prosper, he said.

“Too many people are working hard and falling further behind,” said Perez in an interview with Globe editors and reporters this week.

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