Obama poised to pick Perez for Labor: AP source

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two people familiar with the White House deliberations say President Barack Obama is poised to select Justice Department official Thomas Perez as the next labour secretary.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement has not yet been made.

Mr Perez is head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and previously served as Maryland's labour secretary. He is expected to have solid support from organised labour and the Hispanic community, which is eager to have Hispanic representation in Mr Obama's cabinet.

Mr Perez was the first Latino elected to the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, where he served from 2002 to 2006.

If confirmed, he would replace Ms Hilda Solis, who resigned in January to return to her native California.

The White House declined to comment.