Poverty & Welfare
There has long been a close association between the struggle for civil rights and the fight against poverty in the United States. The drive to dismantle segregation and defeat discrimination has been centered on the need to open the gates of economic opportunity, mostly closed to minorities, women, and other by both governmental and private action.
January 21, 2010 - Posted by Ron Bigler
A deadline for Congress to renew an extension of benefits for the unemployed is fast approaching. The current program – which provides federal funds to states for extended unemployment benefits and a subsidy that pays for 65 percent of workers' health insurance under COBRA – is scheduled to expire on February 28.
January 18, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Today, the nation celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mic Check Radio, a radio project produced by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, is running a special MLK Day podcast today, highlighting King's impact on current efforts to eradicate poverty, eliminate racial disparities, and create living-wage jobs for low-income and minority communities.
January 15, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The unemployment rate for African Americans is set to soar to a 25-year high of 17.2 percent by the third quarter of this year, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute. The rate for Latinos is also expected to hit a record high of 13.9 percent this year.
December 17, 2009 - Posted by Ron Bigler
The House on Wednesday passed another six-month extension of unemployment benefits and extended the COBRA health care subsidy that was set to expire at the end of December.
The COBRA benefit — created under the stimulus bill earlier this year — pays for 65 percent of a laid-off worker's cost of continuing coverage under an employer's health insurance plan. For many families, it is the only way they can continue to pay for coverage. According to Families USA, the average cost for family coverage under an employer COBRA plan was $1,111. The bill now moves on to the Senate.
The unemployment and COBRA insurance extensions are critical lifelines for millions of Americans trying to survive the worst recession since the Great Depression. But they are only stop-gap measures.
A broad coalition of 60 organizations, including The Leadership Conference, is calling on Congress to pass legislation now that will put millions of Americans back on the job.
December 9, 2009 - Posted by Ron Bigler
Calling the current jobs crisis affecting millions of Americans a "continuing human tragedy," President Obama this week outlined a series of steps intended to boost job growth and continue relief for the unemployed.
November 18, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, speaking on the jobs crisis at the Economic Policy Institute. November 2009.
Civil rights and progressive organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO, and the Center for Community Change, have joined the Economic Policy Institute in calling attention to the urgent need to address the current jobs crisis in light of new unemployment data released for October 2009.
The national jobs crisis has become a major barrier to progress in our country. Without job security, families will continue to lose their homes and will stop saving for their own retirement or their children's education. Job security is also essential because the decisions and sacrifices made by the families hit the hardest today will have lasting repercussions for years to come. For example, young adults who must work to support their families instead of attending school will find themselves disadvantaged when competing for work in the future.
November 3, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
The economic hardships caused by current recession reach far and wide, but some communities are experiencing the negative effects of the recession more acutely than national averages reveal, according to data available through a new online tool from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.
EPI's new Economy Track website allows you to see how the recession affects different industries and states, and also people of different races, gender, and education level.
For instance, though the overall U.S. unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, it is 15.4 percent for African Americans and 12.7 percent for Hispanics. And while the 9.6 percent unemployment for workers in service industries is near the national average, the situation for blue-collar workers – 15.3 percent unemployment – is even more dire.
You can find a broad range of comparative statistics on Economy Track –and all of the data is downloadable and updated on a regular basis.
October 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Women, children and minorities are bearing a disproportionate share of the rise in poverty and unemployment in America, according to a new analysis of census data by U.S. congressional district.
The Half in Ten Campaign analyzed the data in all 435 congressional districts and found that:
In light of the findings, Half in Ten is urging Congress to extend unemployment insurance in all states to prevent those looking for a job from slipping into poverty.
"These data underscore the importance of setting national poverty-reduction goals such as cutting poverty in half in 10 years. While the economy was growing between 2001 and 2007, we saw the unprecedented trend of more Americans falling into poverty. Without a focused government effort and absent additional assistance, poverty rates will continue to rise as will disparities by race and gender," Melissa Boteach, manager of the Half in Ten Campaign. "As we rebuild our economy, we need to be intentional about doing so in a way that promotes shared prosperity and sets benchmarks to achieve significant poverty-reduction progress."
September 23, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
The House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that, if enacted, will extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks.
The extension will only apply to states that have unemployment rates higher than 8.5 percent – about 27 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. More than 300,000 unemployed workers whose benefits will run out at the end of the month and more than a million others who will lose benefits by the end of the year will be eligible for the extension.
Congress last approved a 33-week extension in February as part of the economic recovery package.
September 11, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
According to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday, the number of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance increased in 2008.
The number of uninsured rose from 45.7 million to 46.3 million and the official poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 13.2 percent last year – the highest rate since 1997. Nearly 40 million Americans lived below the official poverty threshold in 2008.
In addition, poverty and uninsured rates increased more drastically in many minority communities than they did among non-Hispanic whites.
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