Labor Day is the time of the year we honor the American worker.  

As we have on a string of recent Labor Days, we wish things were going better for the American worker.

The August jobs report showed some modest improvement in the economy, but overall things are still tough for too many Americans.

Although the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, a seven-year low,  participation in the workforce is at 62.6 percent, the same as the 1977 low. Around 94 million Americans who should be in the workforce (either working of looking for work) are not.

A post over at National Review analyzes this dismal workforce participation:

Three key factors are holding down participation: aging Boomers, easily available disability benefits, and overly generous student aid. The bottom line is that the economy in general and labor market in particular would be doing better with a better set of policies, like lower tax rates, less government spending, and lighter regulation. That’s why we have a Plow Horse economy rather than a Race Horse economy.

The number of involuntary part-time workers–that is those who would prefer to be working full time but can't find full-time employment–has risen by more than 158,000 since July (from  6,325,000 to 6,483,000). Also disturbing is that the real income of the American worker has fallen. CBS reports:

[Claire] McKenna is the co-author of ''Occupational Wage Declines Since the Great Recession," which found that when increases in the cost of living since the recession ended in 2009 are factored in, wages have actually declined for most occupations. The report also noted that this trend is decades old.

McKenna's study flagged that this wage decline was most pronounced for the lowest-wage workers in service-sector occupations in home health care, retail and restaurant sectors. Specifically from mid-2009 until 2014, cooks saw almost a 9 percent drop in their wages, janitors lost 6.6 percent and retail workers dropped 5 percent.

Even when workers at the bottom got a boost with the 2009 hike in the federal minimum wage to $7.25, McKenna said, "six years later it's actual value in real terms was 33 percent lower in 2014 than it was at its peak buying power in 1968."

McKenna's findings are based on data from the Occupational Employment Series Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks wage and employment trends for 800 occupations. "Averaged across all occupations, real median hourly wages declined by 4.0 percent from 2009 to 2014," according to the NELP report.

Democrats will say that this indicates that the government should hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Hiking the minimum wage, however, isn't the answer. The answer is an economy that creates jobs. Raising the minimum wage inevitably leads to loss of jobs. It is a simple economic fact that making hiring more expensive leads to less of it.

President Obama may proclaim himself the champion of women, but, if the employment trends are any indication, women are not doing as well under his leadership:  

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, 60.9 percent of women were particiating in the labor force, but after rising somewhat in that economically turbulent year, the particpation rate for women started heading down. Last month, it stood at 58.2 percent.

We wish you a happy Labor Day, but for the sake of the American workers who are honored today (and that includes just about all of us!) , we hope that there will be a change in policies in the U.S. that will give workers more opportunity to prosper.

We hope next year we won't just honor the American worker, but that we'll have better news for the workforce. Realistically, it will probably not be next year, but maybe the next year, if we get a change in Washington.