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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Labor department hires A&M prof

Texas A&M economics professor Dr. Morgan O. Reynolds recently was appointed chief economist in the U.S. Department of Labor, a position that makes him third in command of the department.
Reynolds currently is on unpaid leave from the University, which allows him return to his position after one year if he chooses.
Reynolds said he did not expect the appointment but seized the opportunity when it was presented.
?People behind the scenes recommended me, and the Bush administration gave me a call and offered me the position,? Reynolds said.
Although this position is a political assignment by the Bush administration, Reynolds said he did not angle for the position.
?They haven?t had a chief economist for a while,? he said. ?So I am basically shaping this new role. I am just doing various things on demand right now.?
Reynolds said he did not plan for this appointment to expand him into new areas.
?If I was impressing a bunch of people, some doors could open for me [following this appointment], but I?m not concerned about it because I?m just here to do the best job I can.?
Reynolds tried to explain what working at the Department had been like so far.
?My first Friday here [Sept. 7], we had ?numbers day?. This is when the Bureau of Labor releases numbers, such as the unemployment rate and employment numbers,? Reynolds said.
The bureau announced the rate at 4.9 percent, which is up 0.4 percent from July. African-Americans had an individual unemployment rate increase of 1.2 percent in August, the largest increase on the racial profile index.
Reynolds expects the next set of numbers not to improve in the near future.
?The forthcoming numbers are likely to be bad news, but we are just responding to the current economic downturn right now,? Reynolds said.
Prior to his appointment in Washington, D.C., Reynolds was a professor of economics for 27 years at A&M .
?I do plan to return to Texas A&M University,? Reynolds said.
He said that extending his unpaid leave of one year, to two, is an option that he may consider in the future.

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