As you probably heard, the June unemployment numbers were disastrous at 9.2%. But more than that is the fact that we're seeing the largest number of people being unemployed for such a long period of time since the Great Depression (see chart above). It is absolutely vital that jobs become the focus of the workers' and progressive movements if we are going to turn the tide. We know the corporate media and corporate-owned GOP surely isn't going to do it - it is up to us!
Facts and Figures
Obviously, we need more than the 18,000 new jobs netted last month to improve the situation. As a matter of fact, it takes at least 90,000 new jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. The New York Times suggests that $2 out of every $10 of income in this country is coming from unemployment benefits, food stamps and the like. We know the economy is in bad shape, but what happens to it if workers who rely on those benefits lose them? The Economic Policy Institute predicts the job slump will continue, as this People's World article by Mark Gruenberg spells out.
Also from the EPI, Ten Facts About the Recovery:
1. The real gap in the labor market is now around 11 million jobs.
2. Job growth during this recovery outpaces that following the 2001 recession, but is still too slow.
3. The loss of public-sector jobs is a huge obstacle to growth in this recovery.
4. Most of the improvement seen this recovery consists of a decline in layoffs, not an increase in hiring.
5. The current problem is not that we lack the right workers, it’s that we lack enough job openings.
6. The share of the working-age population with a job has not yet improved.
7. "Underemployment" has also improved very little in the recovery.
8. Unemployed workers continue to face near-record spells of unemployment.
9. Racial and ethnic minorities have fared worse than whites in both the recession and the recovery.
10. Wage growth remains extremely low.
While the talking heads in the media drone on and on about the debt ceiling and the need to cut programs for the poor, during President Obama's Twitter Town Hall last week, the majority of people were concerned about jobs. If only the corporate media would listen...
Action Taken - More Needed
In Dallas, Texas activists have taken to the Federal Building to handing out fliers stating the total unemployment rate is closer to 16.6%, as the People's World's Jim Lane reports. In New York, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced legislation called the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, to help veterans through training, personal employment assessments and workshops on how to write resumes and conduct interviews. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives as well.
On the grassroots level, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Leadership Conference and Coalition on Human Needs are among organizations hosting a toll free number to call Senators on July 14-15 at 1-866-251-4044. Voice your opposition to any plans to Cut Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to reduce the deficit - even though Social Security doesn't contribute a penny to the deficit. The ARA is also urging calls to the White House on this.
Also, a wide array of labor and progressive organizations are partnering to build a movement to Rebuild the Dream. It all starts with house meetings in Congressional Districts across the country this weekend, July 16-17. MoveOn, Center for Community Change, Campaign for America's Future, AFSCME, Sierra Club and Leadership Conference are among the sponsors. If you are not already hosting or attending a house party, you can find one and sign up at this website.
Finally, on 7/19 in the evening look for a streaming video presentation on the Economic Crisis, which includes the debt crisis. Look for it on the CPUSA website.
Please make sure to visit the People's World online for the best in worker's news!
Labor Chair, CPUSA
Source: letter from CPUSA