May 23, 2018
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Economists And Civil Rights Leaders: Job Creation Must Reach Unemployed Blacks And Latinos



Washington, DC-While attendees at President Obama's Jobs Summit yesterday discussed broad strategies to revive businesses, the latest unemployment data reinforce the need for targeted policies to create jobs in communities of color, according to NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Minority workers continue to face unemployment rates significantly higher than the national level. Overall unemployment in November was 10%, with Whites at 9.3%, Blacks at 15.6%, and Latinos at12.7%.

Rising unemployment numbers in minority communities has motivated respected economists and civil rights leaders to advocate for serious attention to the jobs crisis in communities of color. "We view these latest unemployment statistics as a call to action," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. "While the Recovery Act was important in helping the economy overall, some of the hardest-hit communities have yet to see its impact locally. We are urging the White House and Congress to build on recovery efforts to ensure that job opportunities are accessible to all Americans."

"It is clear that policy action is needed to address continued high unemployment, which is now expected to remain with us for several years. The need for a major jobs initiative is nowhere more clear than when observing that more than one in four workers of color is either unemployed or underemployed," said Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute.

"Although it appears the economy is finally emerging from the Great Recession, the economy has yet to begin to create jobs," said Heather Boushey, Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress. "We need smart and innovative policies to stimulate the creation of good jobs for the millions of Americans that remain out of work."

The Obama administration and Congress have taken significant steps to stop the economic downturn. However, the disproportionate impact of joblessness on minorities calls for bold action to generate jobs in the hardest-hit communities.

NCLR recommends that Congress take a targeted approach to address unemployment:

  • Create millions of community jobs in hard-hit neighborhoods
  • Make affordable loan products available to nonprofits and community-based organizations for infrastructure and capital investments
  • Invest in the human capital of workers overlooked by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Use the tax system to reward small businesses and nonprofits that hire new workers

Details of NCLR's proposal are in a memorandum addressed to the President and Congress entitled "Latino Priorities in a Job Creation Package." Also see "NCLR Economic Progress Report, November 2009"; NCLR's joint statement with civil rights organizations and leading economic think tanks, "An Urgent Call for Action to Stem the U.S. Jobs Crisis"; and NCLR's "Economic Snapshot of the State Fiscal Crises."

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