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Secretary of Labor of
the United States
Seal of the United States Department of Labor.svg
Seal of the United States Department of Labor
Flag of the United States Secretary of Labor.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Labor
Alexander Acosta headshot.jpg
Alexander Acosta

since April 28, 2017
United States Department of Labor
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 29 U.S.C. § 551
Precursor Secretary of Commerce and Labor
Formation March 4, 1913
First holder William B. Wilson
Succession Eleventh[1]
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Labor
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1

The United States Secretary of Labor is a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and as the head of the U.S. Department of Labor, exercises control over the department, and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies.

Formerly, there was a U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Labor, who led this department along with the U.S. Department of Commerce as one department. Since the two departments split in 1913, the Department of Commerce is now headed by a separate U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Alexander Acosta is the current U.S. Secretary of Labor since April 28, 2017.

The former flag of the U.S. Secretary of Labor, used from 1915 to 1960.

List of Secretaries of Labor[edit]


  Democratic (12)   Republican (15)

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 Wilson William B. Wilson Pennsylvania March 6, 1913 March 4, 1921 Woodrow Wilson
2 Davis James J. Davis Pennsylvania March 5, 1921 November 30, 1930 Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
3 Doak William N. Doak Virginia December 9, 1930 March 4, 1933
4 Perkins Frances Perkins New York March 4, 1933 June 30, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
5 Schwellenbach Lewis B. Schwellenbach Washington July 1, 1945 June 10, 1948
6 Tobin Maurice J. Tobin Massachusetts August 13, 1948 January 20, 1953
7 Durkin Martin P. Durkin Maryland January 21, 1953 September 10, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
8 Mitchell James P. Mitchell New Jersey October 9, 1953 January 20, 1961
9 Goldberg Arthur Goldberg Illinois January 21, 1961 September 20, 1962 John F. Kennedy
10 Wirtz W. Willard Wirtz Illinois September 25, 1962 January 20, 1969
Lyndon B. Johnson
11 Shultz George P. Shultz Illinois January 22, 1969 July 1, 1970 Richard Nixon
12 Hodgson James D. Hodgson California July 2, 1970 February 1, 1973
13 Brennan Peter J. Brennan New York February 2, 1973 March 15, 1975
Gerald Ford
14 Dunlop John T. Dunlop Massachusetts March 18, 1975 January 31, 1976
15 Usery William Usery Jr. Georgia February 10, 1976 January 20, 1977
16 Marshall Ray Marshall Texas January 27, 1977 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
17 Donovan Raymond J. Donovan New Jersey February 4, 1981 March 15, 1985 Ronald Reagan
18 Brock Bill Brock Tennessee April 29, 1985 October 31, 1987
19 McLaughlin Ann Dore McLaughlin District of Columbia December 17, 1987 January 20, 1989
20 Dole Elizabeth Dole Kansas January 25, 1989 November 23, 1990 George H. W. Bush
21 Martin Lynn M. Martin Illinois February 22, 1991 January 20, 1993
22 Reich Robert Reich Massachusetts January 22, 1993 January 20, 1997 Bill Clinton
23 Herman Alexis Herman Alabama May 1, 1997 January 20, 2001
24 Chao Elaine Chao Kentucky January 29, 2001 January 20, 2009 George W. Bush
Radzely Howard Radzely Pennsylvania January 20, 2009 February 2, 2009 Barack Obama
Hugler Ed Hugler Pennsylvania February 2, 2009 February 24, 2009
25 Solis Hilda Solis California February 24, 2009 January 22, 2013
Harris Seth Harris New York January 22, 2013 July 23, 2013
26 Perez Tom Perez Maryland July 23, 2013 January 20, 2017
Hugler Ed Hugler Pennsylvania January 20, 2017 April 27, 2017 Donald Trump
27 Acosta Alex Acosta Florida April 28, 2017 Incumbent

Living former Secretaries of Labor[edit]

As of July 2018, there are twelve living former Secretaries of Labor (with all Secretaries that have served since 1977 still living), the oldest being George P. Shultz (served 1969–1970, born 1920). The most recent Secretary of Labor to die was William Usery Jr. (served 1976–1977, born 1923), on December 10, 2016.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
George P. Shultz 1969–1970 (1920-12-13) December 13, 1920 (age 97)
Ray Marshall 1977–1981 (1928-08-22) August 22, 1928 (age 89)
Raymond J. Donovan 1981–1985 (1930-08-31) August 31, 1930 (age 87)
Bill Brock 1985–1987 (1930-11-23) November 23, 1930 (age 87)
Ann Dore McLaughlin 1987–1989 (1941-11-16) November 16, 1941 (age 76)
Elizabeth H. Dole 1989–1990 (1936-07-29) July 29, 1936 (age 81)
Lynn Morley Martin 1991–1993 (1939-12-26) December 26, 1939 (age 78)
Robert Reich 1993–1997 (1946-06-24) June 24, 1946 (age 72)
Alexis Herman 1997–2001 (1947-07-16) July 16, 1947 (age 70)
Elaine Chao 2001–2009 (1953-03-26) March 26, 1953 (age 65)
Hilda Solis 2009–2013 (1957-10-20) October 20, 1957 (age 60)
Thomas Perez 2013–2017 (1961-10-07) October 7, 1961 (age 56)

Line of succession[edit]

The line of succession for the Secretary of Labor is as follows:[2]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Labor
  2. Solicitor of Labor
  3. Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
  4. Assistant Secretary for Policy
  5. Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
  6. Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training
  7. Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security
  8. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health
  9. Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health
  10. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
  11. Chief Financial Officer
  12. Administrator, Wage and Hour Division
  13. Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training
  14. Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy
  15. Deputy Solicitor of Labor (First Assistant of the Solicitor of Labor)
  16. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Policy)
  17. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs)
  18. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training)
  19. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security)
  20. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health)
  21. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health (First Assistant of the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health)
  22. Regional Solicitor—Dallas
  23. Regional Administrator for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management—Region VI/Dallas

Designated Secretarial Designee[edit]

If none of the above officials are available to serve as Acting Secretary of Labor, the Designated Secretarial Designee assumes interim operational control over the Department, except the Secretary's non-delegable responsibilities.

  1. Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
  2. Director of the Women's Bureau
  3. Regional Administrator, Employment and Training Administration—Dallas
  4. Regional Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration—Dallas

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Wilbur Ross
as Secretary of Commerce
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Labor
Succeeded by
Alex Azar
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
Current U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Commerce
Wilbur Ross
11th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Alex Azar


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