Survey Says: Policymakers Should Focus on Jobs Creation, Education, and Training

Jul 13, 2010

By Anna Suhring

A majority of Americans say that to address the recent economic downturn, policymakers should focus on creating jobs that pay decent wages and on providing education and training opportunities, according to survey results released last week.

Conducted by Lake Research Partners and commissioned by the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Center for Community Change, the survey, Community Voices on the Economy, attempted to gain insight  on what matters most to people in the current economic climate.

Administered via random telephone sampling of more than 1,000 adults, the nationwide survey asked about personal experiences with the recession and outlook on the future for the economy. A majority said they are worse off now than they were before the recent economic downturn and 30 percent said they or someone in their household lost a job in the past year. Many respondents, especially women, report living paycheck to paycheck, and 30 percent have $500 or less in savings. Three in ten respondents say they or someone in their household has lost a job in the past year, and half say they or someone in their household has in the past year experienced recession-related job hardship, such as lower wages or reduced hours.

Major worries among many respondents include rising health care costs, lack of jobs paying sustainable wages, threat of job loss, and rising costs of living. Despite widespread cynicism about the economy and about the government, however, a majority of respondents believe the government can and should take a larger role in helping ordinary people.

When asked about policies to promote positive change, many respondents called for creation of jobs with decent wages and benefits, especially for low-income families, and more affordable education and training as ways to improve the nation's economic outlook.

As many respondents noted, the government should implement policies to help those hurt by the economic downturn.

Indeed, CLASP has long stressed that the recent economic downturn has exposed gaping holes in the nation's safety net. CLASP continues to call for bold solutions to put people back to work and help them get through tough economic times. Policy solutions must consider the needs of low-income individuals and families who have been especially hard hit.

For more information, see:

CLASP's Federal Policy Recommendations for 2010.

CLASP's recommendations for creating work and learning opportunities for low-income populations.

Alan W. Houseman's recent piece, Discourse on Deficit Reduction Must Include Low-Income People.

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