Jared Bernstein Talks Job Creation on ABC’s “This Week”

September 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

In advance of the President’s release of his jobs plan later this week, Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein discussed effective ideas for creating jobs on ABC’s “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour.  Here’s the clip:

In Case You Missed It…

September 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm

This week on Off The Charts, we talked about unemployment, federal and state budgets, taxes, welfare reform, and the 2009 Recovery Act.

  • On unemployment, Chad Stone explained why food stamps and unemployment insurance create jobs in a weak economy.  He also released his analysis of the August jobs report, which highlighted the need for policies that will put people back to work.  Nick Johnson outlined the continuing cuts in state and local government employment, especially in education.
  • On federal and state budgets, Stacy Dean urged the congressional deficit-reduction committee to consider the human impact of its decisions, and Phil Oliff described the widespread cuts in state funding for K-12 education.
  • On taxes, Chuck Marr pointed out the flawed assumptions behind a new study claiming that a tax holiday for “repatriated” foreign corporate profits would actually raise revenues.
  • On welfare reform, we released a chart book based on our series reviewing the TANF program on its 15th anniversary.  Liz Schott examined Michigan’s decision to shorten TANF time limits even as it enacts costly new tax cuts.
  • On the Recovery Act, Michael Leachman summarized a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis finding that it saved jobs and protected the economy from what would have been a much deeper recession.

In other news, we analyzed a new CBO report on the impact of the Recovery Act and surveyed state cuts to school funding.  We updated our backgrounder on unemployment insurance and our chart book on the recession.  We also released a new chart book based on our four-part series on TANF at 15 and issued a statement on the August unemployment report.

In Making Budget Cuts, New Joint Committee Should Not Forget the Human Impact

September 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

With attention focused on spiraling federal deficits, some budget experts surely will rate the new joint congressional committee that will start work this month on whether it meets its deficit-reduction targets.  Another important yardstick should be whether it does so in a fair and humane way.

A recent ABC News series of pieces, entitled “Hunger at Home: Crisis in America,” is especially relevant in this regard because it sheds light on the many dimensions of hunger that now face families across the nation.  Among the many families highlighted in the series, two families stood out.

Over a year ago, Don Orange, a single father of two, lost his job as a manager of a chain of shoe stores in Florida.  When his unemployment benefits ran out in April, Don applied for SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and turned to the local food pantry because he could no longer afford to feed his family.

Meanwhile, Jahzaire Sutton, a 10-year-old boy from Philadelphia whose family participates in SNAP, says that, by the end of the month, he watches his mother skip meals so that he can eat.

Orange, Sutton, and their families are among the millions of Americans who are struggling every day to get by.

Some 50 million Americans (about one household in seven) are “food insecure,” meaning their family lacks the resources they need to get enough nutritious food to thrive, according to federal Agriculture Department figures from 2009.  That means that 17.2 million children are at risk of going hungry.

Thankfully, there are critical supports available to these families through SNAP, school meals, and the other federal nutrition programs.  It is crucial that these programs not be weakened in their ability to assist families in need.

State and Local Job Cuts Continue, Especially in Education

September 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Three Years of State and Local Jobs CutsToday’s jobs report shows that in August, cuts by states and local governments — especially school districts — wiped out private-sector job gains.

The state and local sector cut 15,000 jobs in August.  That comes on top of a whopping 66,000 jobs lost in July, according to revised figures released today — the worst single month of job loss for states and localities since the recession began in December 2007.  States and localities have eliminated 671,000 jobs since employment peaked in August 2008 (see first graph).

Not coincidentally, July was also the first month of the new fiscal year for most states, one in which they are facing the double-whammy of weak revenues (which remain well below pre-recession levels) and the expiration of temporary federal aid.

Three Years of School Job CutsSome 14,000 of the state and local jobs lost in August were in local school districts, bringing to 293,000 the total decline in school-district employment since August 2008 (see second graph).

Cuts in state education funding are a big reason behind these education-related job losses.  As we reported yesterday, the vast majority of states for which data are available are cutting basic education grants to local school districts to below pre-recession levels.  Some of the cuts exceed 20 percent.

These troubling numbers raise a disconcerting question:  What kind of an economic future will this country have if we keep cutting education?

Today’s Jobs Report in Pictures

September 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

Today’s jobs report highlights the critical need to enact policies to get people back to work.  Employers added no net new jobs to their payrolls and the unemployment rate remained 9.1 percent.  Most forecasters, including the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), expect the unemployment rate to remain very high for the next few years.

Below are some charts to show how the new figures look in historical context. Here is our statement and further analysis.

See our chart book for more charts.

Unemployment Rate Stubbornly High
Job Losses Far Exceed Other Recessions
Employment Growth Remains Stalled
Share of Population with Job Remains Depressed
Long-Term Unemployment at Record Levels