FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2009
Recovery Remains a Long Way Off for Unemployed and Low-Income Americans
(Washington, D.C.) Although the U.S. Commerce Department today reported that the U.S. economy is showing promising signs of growth, economic recovery is not a reality for millions of unemployed and low-income Americans, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) said today.
"Today's news from the Commerce Department is a welcome sign that the iron grip of the recession that has affected the country since December 2007 may be loosening," said Alan W. Houseman, executive director of CLASP. "However, for millions of Americans who are still jobless or facing economic hardship, the recovery is still a long way off."
Economists project that unemployment rates will continue to rise until next year - and that poverty rates for children will not return to their pre-recession levels for an entire decade - absent further government action.
Some of the growth can be attributed to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has made a difference to millions of American families. The pace of job losses has slowed greatly since its implementation. Congress included in the Recovery Act a number of provisions that directly assisted low-income families, which have been highly effective in both directly alleviating suffering and stimulating the economy.
"While the recovery act has helped millions, many American families will require a safety net even after recovery act dollars are exhausted," Houseman said.
Congress should immediately act to extend unemployment benefits, but also to address the need for jobs directly, by providing subsidized jobs for the long-term unemployed, additional funding for summer jobs for youth, try-out jobs and internships for workers completing training programs, and transitional jobs for more disadvantaged workers.
In addition, Congress should extend Recovery Act funding for critical safety net programs, including Medicaid, child care, and the TANF Emergency Fund. States will be working on their 2010-2011 budgets soon, and without continued funding, these programs will face severe cuts.
View CLASP's testimony on the safety net and the recovery act for more information.