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Obama's strategy to address long term unemployment vs. what we really need

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In January, the nation received news that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent in December. While that's good news, according to the February 3 issue of the Washington Post, "the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is still higher than it was during all but the last two months of the George W. Bush presidency." Plus, these numbers do not include the long term unemployed who also have a big impact on the economy.

Millions of long term unemployed

When Obama took office the number of long term unemployed people who had been out of work for at least 27 months stood at 2.6 million. As a nation we felt the effect on the economy and looked forward to better days. While we're told we are in an economic recovery, the reality of millions of lives is that the long-term unemployment problem is still an issue. As of December 2013 the number of long-term unemployed was still at 3.9 million. For them the "recovery" is still a fight for survival.

Obama takes steps to address long term unemployed

President Obama took steps last week to make sure employers will not discriminate against the long-term unemployed when hiring. Senior advisers have said President Obama will frequently travel outside Washington in an effort to urge businesses to hire the long-term unemployed. The president also plans to work with university presidents to promote skills training focused on current employment demands within the changing economy.

Need for job growth

While these steps are an improvement, the real issue is the need for more jobs. If the long term unemployed take the available jobs, then others entering the workforce will be out of work due to a lack of jobs. In December 2013 employers added jobs at the slowest pace in three years just when the Federal Reserve economists and policy makers had thought the labor market was finally turning the corner.A healthy job growth figure should minimally fall between 100,000 to 150,000 new jobs created every month to assuage the effects of new people coming into the workforce. This does not include the millions of long term unemployed. The 74,000 jobs added in December did not meet the minimum requirement for those entering the job market much less those who have been looking for work for months. What we need are policies that encourage job creation.



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