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Introduction

Almost 16 million Americans are out of work. They are our husbands and wives. Our children, our parents. Our neighbors. The supply of willing workers is overwhelming, but we don’t have the demand to match. Americans want to work. Putting the American people back to work is not only an economic imperative, but a moral one as well. Americans value hard work, independence, and personal responsibility. American workers are remarkably resilient and have an unrivaled work ethic. In the face of these challenging economic times, Americans who have jobs are working hard, gaining new skills, caring for their parents, and providing for their children. Americans who don’t have jobs are doing everything they can to find work. Their quiet resilience has been a little-noticed source of our nation’s strength and it can also be a wellspring for our nation’s renewal.

Why this urgent call to action?
The United States is facing its worst unemployment crisis of the last 70 years. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, one-third of whom have been jobless for over six months. Another 9.3 million Americans are working part time because they can’t find the full-time jobs they want and need. The jobs shortage is so severe that there are now six unemployed workers for every job vacancy—double the ratio in the prior recession of the early 2000s.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year helped to pull the economy out of its nosedive and to dampen mounting job losses. Still, the jobs crisis has persisted, and it is likely that unemployment will remain above 8% even two years from now in the absence of bold and decisive action to create jobs. The employment situation is an economic and moral crisis for the nation and requires an adequate, comprehensive response by the federal government. By itself, the private sector is unable to create jobs in the numbers the United States needs for a robust, full economic recovery.

The Jobs for America Now coalition recommends a five-point plan to create jobs and stem the unemployment crisis. The plan calls for the nation to:

  • provide relief through continued and expanded unemployment benefits, COBRA and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program);
  • Extend substantial fiscal relief to state and local governments;
  • Create jobs that put people to work helping communities meet pressing needs, including in distressed communities that face severe unemployment;
  • Invest in infrastructure improvements in schools, transportation and energy efficiency, thus providing jobs in the short run and productivity enhancements in the longer run; and
  • Spur private-sector job growth through innovative incentives and providing credit to small and medium-sized businesses.

Read the entire urgent call for action signed by a coalition of over 50 organizations.

Read the list of coalition organizations.