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Friday, October 8, 2010

As jobs in the U.S. Continue to Shed, Is It Time to Add an FDR Work Program to Stimulate Hiring

U.S. Employers Continue to Shed
Jobs as Millions of America's
Look for Work
Unemployment has a long way to go still, before millions for jobless Americans will began to feel some relief. The October 8, jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, highlights that payroll continued to plunged in August as state and local government agencies cut employment. Meanwhile, private employers failed again to generate enough job opportunities to grow the nations' economy. 

In fact, employers on an average cut 95,000 jobs within the month of August, according to BLS figures. Private business added 64,000 employment opportunities but, Governmental agencies eliminated 159,000 jobs. The government cuts were split between the continued shedding of temporary U.S. Census Bureau workers and, other state/local cuts.

The national unemployment rate, remains unchanged for the eight month in a row, at 9.6 percent.

July's seasonality adjusted figures showed a decline in employment previously reported from this month to August. An additional 12,000 jobs were cut in July and 3,000 in August. In addition, for the 12 months ending in March, the Labor Department revised previous estimates of private payrolls to show that businesses shed extra 371,000 jobs, than previously reported.

Friday's report "adds to the evidence that the recovery is losing what little forward momentum it had," said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist for research consultancy Capital Economics to Huffington Post. "The budget pressures on state and local governments aren't going to ease for a while yet, so further public sector job losses should be expected. The gain in private payrolls was better than we had feared after the release of... [a report] earlier this week, but it was still nothing to cheer about."

Economists had expected private payrolls to rise by 75,000, according to a survey by Bloomberg News and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The economy needs an additional 150,000 jobs a month to bring the unemployment rate down and stabilize the economy, Zandi said Friday during an appearance on CNBC, reported on the Huffington Post.

"The unemployment rate will likely rise to 10 percent at the beginning of next year, Diane C. Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, said Friday on CNBC noted on Huffington Post.

More than six million Americans have been out of work longer than six months, Labor Department data show. It is estimated that another 24 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed currently. Ironically, Congress on September 30, declined to have a unemployment extension bill that would have provided supplemental income payments to the longer term unemployed.

The American Wants to Work Act” S.3706, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) would have provided an additional twenty weeks of benefits to a group of the longest termed jobless Americans, known as the 99ers (those who are currently exhausted from future benefits and have received between 73-99 weeks of payments). The bill would have also enacted an incentive for businesses to hire the longest-term unemployed by providing a $2000 tax credit, for each 99er who was hired for a new employment opportunity.

Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) blocked an up or down vote taking place on the bill, citing future concerns over the Federal deficit.

"Without knowing how much it is going to cost and how we're going to pay for it, while we're all certainly sympathetic and want to work to make people go back to work -- my home state of Florida certainly suffering with very high unemployment -- we need to know how we're going to pay for it so we don't put this debt on our children and grandchildren," Senator LeMieux stated to the Huffington Post.

During an appearance on the MSNBC "The Ed Show", hosted by Ed Schultz, on October 7; Senator Stabenow cited the Republican obstruction in moving the country forward to enact legislation which would create jobs, to block achievements for President Barack Obama and the Democrat controlled House of Representatives and Senate.

“If they stop any change from happening in people lives, that somehow they would have benefited from that; that we would have failed. But it has been painful show”, Senator Stabenow cited. “As you said that we now have some 400 pieces of legislation many of them directly related to jobs that are being held up. And so the question is, how do we communicate that so that people who’s been trying to move the country forward and who been trying to move it back”, the Senator noted.

An October 6 blog post from “Reach Out Job Search” noted that not only millions of middle and lower class America’s are replying on the supplemental income payments to take care of basic financial needs but; a growing group of 3000 Millionaires collected $18.5 million in unemployment benefits in the 2008 tax year.

Some economic leaders are calling for a President Franklin Roosevelt type Works Progress Administration (WPA) program, or a governmental jobs program, is need to stimulate employment growth. Yale economist Robert J. Shiller wrote in a recent in the New York Times article cited on Huffington Post, the following:

"Why not use government policy to directly create jobs -- labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, public health and safety, urban infrastructure maintenance, youth programs, elder care, conservation, arts and letters, and scientific research?
Would this be an effective use of resources? From the standpoint of economic theory, government expenditures in such areas often provide benefits that are not being produced by the market economy."


The Economic Policy Institute wrote a five-point plan, that similar to a WPA government programming, would create employment opportunities, in America.

"If the private sector can't put people back to work, then the public sector must," reasons the Economic Policy Institute.  As part of its five-point plan to stem the unemployment crisis, the progressive group calls for spending $40 billion per year for three years on a public service jobs that would put one million people back to work. Among the details:
During the first six to nine months, the program would fund fast-track jobs. Projects would be limited to a discrete list of activities in order to allow for quick implementation and large-scale employment. This fast-track authority should be carefully defined to prevent abuses. It should be limited to four areas that reflect national priorities and demonstrate a high potential impact for aggregate job creation: neighborhood/community improvement, child health and development, access to public services, and public safety.
Fast-track jobs might include, for example:

• cleaning up of abandoned and vacant properties to alleviate blight in distressed and foreclosure-affected neighborhoods; 
• staffing emergency food programs to reduce hunger and promote family stability; 
• working in Head Start, child care, and other early childhood education programs to promote school readiness and early literacy; 
• renovating and maintaining parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces."
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