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La Raza: Congress Must Create Jobs To Rebuild Communities Hit Hardest By Recession

 

 

 

Washington, DC—New data from the U.S. Department of Labor confirm that minorities continue to suffer disproportionately from rising unemployment. Joblessness in communities of color is pushing more families into foreclosure and hindering the nation’s economic recovery, says NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. While national recovery efforts have created more than 600,000 jobs, the unemployment rate in December was 16.2% for Blacks and 12.9% for Latinos, compared to 10% nationwide. NCLR’s analysis of the numbers shows that Latinos are overrepresented in industries where unemployment is highest. Meanwhile, federal foreclosure prevention initiatives are not available to the unemployed, making it even harder for them to keep their homes.

NCLR recommends that Congress put Americans to work on projects that benefit their communities. For example, hiring workers to repair and rehabilitate abandoned and foreclosed homes would help protect neighborhoods and tackle the housing market bust, which is expected to leave more than 1.3 million Latino families in foreclosure over the next four years. Investing in nonprofit service providers is another effective way to meet local needs while employing millions of people in a short time.

“The government cannot afford to continue to disregard the severity of the economic crisis in communities of color. Congress must do more to ensure that all workers, including Latinos and Blacks, have access to new employment opportunities,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Job creation should be aimed at reviving and rebuilding the hardest-hit communities.”

“Even before the recession began in 2007, African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities had disproportionately absorbed the ill effects of our economic shortcomings. Areas of concentrated poverty have reached rates of 50% and higher for African American men between the ages of 18 and 30,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “We are urging Congress to take action now to reassure this country that it is committed to the creation of much-needed jobs and resources in affected minority communities that will ultimately benefit us all.”

“Job creation must remain our top priority,” said Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress. “We need policies that help those most in need, which often have the largest bang for the buck in terms of impact on economic stimulus.”

“Minority farmworkers, among those affected the most, are continuing to get hit with staggering unemployment numbers,” said David Strauss, Executive Director of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs. “Just as Congress bailed out financial institutions during this economic crisis, it now needs to protect America’s working class by passing legislation that creates jobs that include minority workers.”

Read NCLR’s latest analysis of the unemployment data here. Also, find detailed proposals of NCLR’s recommendations to Congress at www.nclr.org/JobsNow.

For more information, visit www.nclr.org | http://www.facebook.com/nationalcounciloflaraza | http://www.myspace.com/nclr2008 | http://twitter.com/nclr.

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In December 2009, Latinos continued to face an unemployment rate nearly three points higher than that of the nation overall: 12.7% compared to 10%. Contributing to Latinos’ high unemployment rate is their large presence in occupations with elevated levels of unemployment. Nearly all of the major occupational groups in which Latinos are overrepresented have unemployment rates above the national unemployment rate (see table below). These occupations include:

  • Service occupations
  • Farming, fishing, and forestry
  • Construction and extraction
  • Production
  • Transportation and material moving

These distressing figures are unequivocal evidence of the need for long-overdue job creation programs that target the areas hit hardest by joblessness. The economic security of Latinos—and the nation overall—is still very much at stake.



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