National Urban League
Empowering Communities. Changing Lives.
To Be Equal Column #24 July 9, 2008 Continued Job Losses Call for Immediate Action Marc Morial President and CEO National Urban League On July 3, as millions of us planned low-cost stay-at-home cookouts for the July 4 weekend, the American economy saw another 62,000 jobs go up in smoke. This is the sixth straight month of growing unemployment lines brings the total job loss for the year to a whopping 438,000. Our nation has not experienced this type of labor crisis since the months following the terrorist attack of 2001. And with the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the nation, at 9.2 percent, African Americans are again looking up from the bottom. When you connect the dots, it is clear that working class families are under extreme duress. From the declining housing market to less available credit; from skyrocketing prices at the gas pump to the rising cost of putting food on the table, it is no wonder that millions of Americans, especially African Americans, have put the brakes on summer vacations and are simply barbequing in the back yard! As for those rebate checks that were supposed to turn things around, we might as well use them as starter paper to fire up the back yard grill. While the stimulus checks have offered some families temporary relief, the anticipated lift to the economy has simply not occurred even with two-thirds of those checks in hand. The fact is, the inflation that we are experiencing today is being driven by high energy prices. The next president, whether Senator Obama or Senator McCain, has to put forth a comprehensive energy plan that includes recommendations for alternative fuel sources, energy conservation and production. All Americans need to demand action from their federal and local representatives. We must hold them accountable for developing both short and long-term solutions to address our energy, labor and housing crises. For our part, the National Urban League fully supports the housing stimulus package currently being debated in Congress which could prevent as many as half-a-million Americans from losing their homes. The League also continues to offer help at the grass-roots level by providing a variety of job training and career counseling programs through our affiliates across the country. During our annual conference which will be held in Orlando Florida, July 30-August 2, we are offering workshops on ways to recession-proof your job as well as free career counseling, coaching and resume critiques from some of the top employment counselors in the nation. The June 2008 labor report shows the continuation of a troubling trend as we see a steady erosion of jobs and consumer confidence over the last several years. Some call it a temporary down-turn. Some say we’re in a recession. I say, let’s not waste time bickering over semantics. Our economy is in big trouble. And we all know that when the American economy sneezes, African Americans catch pneumonia. We need action from every level of government. The time is now. ###
24 TBE 7/9/08 ▪ 120 Wall Street ▪ New York, NY 10005 ▪ (212) 558-5300 ▪ WWW.NUL.ORG