The Department of Labor has reported that applications for jobless benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 290,000 last week, the lowest level in 11 months, a clear indicator of growing strength of the American economy.  By including relief to small businesses as part of a minimum wage increase, we can work to preserve the strength of America’s economy and create even more jobs.

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and I am pleased that so many of my Senate colleagues recognize the role they play and the need to protect them as we debate a minimum wage bill.  Small businesses employ more than half of all private sector employees and generate 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually, so pairing a minimum wage increase with targeted tax and regulatory relief is vital to helping these businesses continue to create new jobs, stay competitive and keep our economy growing.