According to the BLS’ “The Employment Situation – July 2012” report, 5.2 million Americans have been without work for at least 27 weeks, accounting for more than 40 percent of the nation’s unemployed. The national civilian labor force participation rate is currently well below average, at 63.7 percent. And, on August 2nd, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose from 357,000 to 365,000 for the week ending July 28th.
Without question, the country’s path towards full-fledged economic recovery is far from complete. However, the Obama administration believes it has solutions to some of the United States’ pressing economic issues.
The American Jobs Act, a set of bills first proposed by President Barack Obama on September 8, 2011, features an investment proposal of $35 billion, which would prevent the layoffs of nearly 280,000 teachers, as well as thousands of cops and firefighters. $30 billion of the investment would be used to retain teachers, while $5 billion would help public safety and first responder professionals retain their positions.
Another investment proposal, known as Project Rebuild, would be used towards the restoration of vacant and foreclosed businesses and homes. The investment – of $15 billion – is projected to create thousands of new construction jobs, a sector hard hit in the recession and an area of weakness in the job market.
From June to July, nearly 1,000 construction jobs were lost. Job losses within specialty trade contracting were especially noticeable, as 12,600 positions were eliminated within that time span. Only 300 state government educators were hired in July, while 7,000 local government educators were laid off last month.
As unemployed construction workers and educators continue to search for employment opportunities, one question has yet to be answered – will either of these investment proposals be passed before Election Day?