Since the beginning of the recession at the end of 2007, unemployment has increased rapidly, in Pennsylvania as it has elsewhere. While many families suffer as a result of reduced earnings and unemployment, women who head households face significantly higher risks of unemployment than male heads of households, and are much more likely than men to live in poverty.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In its first year, ARRA has provided tax cuts to individuals, fiscal relief to states, and aid to those most directly hurt by the recession. According to the Council of Economic Advisors, the Recovery Act has added around 2.3% to real GDP growth and in August, it added one million jobs that would have been lost without the Recovery Act. That said, the national unemployment rate currently stands at an unacceptable 9.7% (which many experts say is a conservatively low estimate).
Linda Basch: How has ARRA impacted our economy from a local, community, or individual/family perspective?
Sara Gould: ARRA has provided a crucial injection of support to states during the worst of our nation’s current economic crisis. Take child care, for example: several states have used the funding to prevent budget cuts; some have reduced waiting lists for subsidized child care; and others have worked to improve the quality of child-care delivery.
At year one, the legacy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is still unwritten. Most economists agree that the Act has created and saved large numbers of jobs, and helped stave off potentially catastrophic levels of unemployment. Given where our economy was a year ago, that is a huge and important accomplishment.
One year has passed since the Obama administration enacted the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the largest boon to public spending and the safety net since the New Deal. Last week, President Obama linked economic recovery to investments in clean energy and green job creation in his State of the Union address.
Despite two quarters of GDP growth and a declining unemployment rate, 20,000 jobs were lost last month. Without 33,000 temporary Census jobs, 53,000 jobs would have disappeared. Job loss has slowed since the 583,000 jobs per month lost on average between January and June, and ARRA has certainly played a role. But effects of that stimulus are fading. More needs to be done or the potential gains from a budding recovery will disappear and we will see continued job loss.
We put trillions of dollars on the line to rescue Wall Street from self inflicted wounds, yet at a time of historic unemployment rates, some are calling for shrinking the deficit on the backs of America's workers by refusing to take the bold steps needed to put people back to work.