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Unemployment Catastrophe - ADA Calls for Action

Posted Dec 05 2008 at 12:27 PM
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The steep increase of 533,000 in unemployment for November pushed that figure to its highest level in 36 years, and underscored the urgency for an aggressive, swift and large enough economic recovery plan to reverse the downward economic trends.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the officially measured unemployment rose from 6.5 to 6.7 percent, the largest monthly increase in unemployment since 1974.

A closer look at the numbers released by the BLS show that besides the official tally of unemployed there were millions of workers able and willing to work full time but who were forced to take part-time jobs because of poor economic conditions or could not take work because of poor transportation and illness.

When these workers are added to the official count the “real rate” of unemployment totals 12.5%.  BLS acknowledges this in its own table of “alternative measures of labor utilization” under the title of “U6” 

ADA National Director, Amy Isaacs, said, “This unacceptably high unemployment clearly signals an urgent need for a robust stimulus package with emphasis on programs that get money immediately into the hands of people who will spend it such as food stamps, an extension of unemployment benefits and aid to state an local governments.” 

Several days ago it was confirmed that the economy has been in recession since December 2007.  A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicated that our sustained and increasing unemployment will increase “the number of poor Americans from 7.5 – 10.3 million, the number of poor children will rise by 2.6-3.3 million, and the number of children in deep poverty will climb by 1.5-2 million.”  

Not only are significant groups of workers and their families suffering, but for those living in poverty, and deep poverty, Americans with incomes half the poverty line, the recessionary figures spell even greater hardships.


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