During last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama made it clear that he is very proud of steps the economy has made during his terms in office. While there were no new major economic policy announcements, he did recap accomplishments and reiterate his stance on many issues affecting the workforce.

A stronger economy

“We’re in the middle of the strongest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half.”

We’ve been closely following the decrease in unemployment rate and how that impacts both job seekers and employers. It’s no secret that the more job openings we’re seeing, the easier it is to find a job, and the harder it is becoming to keep hold of the best talent.

Education, minimum wage and paid leave

The President also emphasized that it’s getting harder for families to pull themselves out of poverty and harder for young people to start careers. To combat this issue, he brought back last year’s big announcement of making college affordable for every American.

“Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year. Americans understand that at some point in their careers, they may have to retool and retrain. But they shouldn’t lose what they’ve already worked so hard to build.”

In addition to bringing back the free community college conversation, President Obama also restated his commitment to requiring employers to provide paid leave, raising the minimum wage and providing equal pay for equal work.

Job training and wage insurance

A focus was also put on job training and wage insurance to make it easier on those that do lose their jobs to get back on their feet. While no specific plan was introduced we expect to see this conversation continue into this year.

“Say a hardworking American loses his job — we shouldn’t just make sure he can get unemployment insurance; we should make sure that program encourages him to retrain for a business that’s ready to hire him. If that new job doesn’t pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills. And even if he’s going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him. That’s the way we make the new economy work better for everyone.”

Commitment to small businesses and hourly workers

To end the economy and employment section of the State of the Union address, President Obama again made it clear that small businesses,  the middle class and hourly-paid workers are on the forefront of his mind during the remainder of his presidency. We will be closely following any new advancements, bills or policies that come from this year’s speech and keep you posted on all new employment news and changes.

“In this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less. The rules should work for them.  I see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open, and the boss who pays him higher wages to keep him on board. I see it in the American who served his time, and dreams of starting over — and the business owner who gives him that second chance.”

What did you think of this year’s State of the Union address? Tweet us @SnagajobWorks and let us know!