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White House Offers Help For Long-Term Jobless

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White House Offers Help For Long-Term Jobless

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By Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday will announce the expansion of its efforts to aid the long-term unemployed with grants to help get the jobless back into the workplace.

President Barack Obama in January launched an effort to remove obstacles for the long-term unemployed, getting major corporations to adopt “best practices” in human-resources departments designed to ensure the long-time jobless aren’t screened out of the possibility of face-to-face employment interviews.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department will announce 23 grants given to 20 states and Puerto Rico to attack the problem of long-term unemployed, which numbered 3 million through September, the latest reading. The grants will be used by local organizations and governments to match jobless workers with sectors that need workers.

Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials will also meet with chief human resources officers of large companies that have worked to bring in the long-term unemployed. Deloitte Consulting and the Rockefeller Foundation will also release a handbook that employers can use to better catch applicants who are among the long-term jobless.

To be considered long-term unemployed, a worker must be jobless and seeking employment for 27 weeks or longer. The current rate of 1.9 percent is more than twice the historical average as a percentage of all workers in the labor force, but has come down from the December 2013 rate of 2.5 percent.

Some economists fear that the stubbornly high rate of long-term joblessness, which characterizes the Great Recession and its aftermath, will leave millions of Americans with insufficient skills to reenter the workforce.

“I categorically reject the notion that the long-term unemployed are unemployable,” Labor Secretary Tom Perez told reporters on a conference call ahead of the announcement.

Critics of the Obama administration allege that the number of long-term jobless has fallen because many have simply exited the workforce.

“The long-term number has fallen because the economy has picked up,” insisted Jeff Zients, director of the president’s National Economic Council.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in September, the lowest it has been since June 2008.

Wednesday’s announcements are likely to rekindle debate about the failure of Congress to extend benefits to the long-term jobless. Such extensions had been common throughout the post-recession period but came to an end at the start of the year.

“The president by no means is giving up,” said Perez, adding that he has recently held discussions in the Senate to explore the chances of bringing up the issue again.

AFP Photo/Joshua Lott

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3 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila October 16, 2014

    Considering the number of vacancies available in most states, the first thing our unemployed should do is apply for a job and go to work!
    I don’t have a problem with helping people who lost their job and have trouble finding employment – for a reasonable amount of time – but perpetual unemployment, under the economic circumstances we are in, has more to do with wishing to spend the day playing video games, blogging, texting or watching soaps than inability to find work.

    Reply
    1. iowasteve October 16, 2014

      Well, you might have been right a long time ago – but in a large number of RED states especially, there aren’t that many jobs available for some of those unemployed people. And it also doesn’t help when the unemployed do take on a job that doesn’t pay enough to completely take care of his family and your GOP constantly cuts their welfare/food stamps that helps them feed their family while they ARE MAKING ATTEMPT TO WORK. And then after that, they turn around and are pushing for the elimination of minimum wage, which is what a lot of those people are making and not being too successful in caring for their families. The GOP is out to kill off the middle class and poor and people like you sit around and support every single decision they make. And in many areas, when someone complains that there aren’t any jobs available, the first thing a republican does is scream that fast food is always hiring! Come on idiots – get real – and stop just making excuses constantly for your uncaring attitudes. Either help those people for real or stop telling them they are lazy and no good. Cutting money for infrastructure eliminates higher paying jobs in every state. But those are the cuts that the GOP enjoys because they don’t see it as needed. Or because it’s something Obama thinks could help. Which side is right? Obama is right. Some of those unemployed people are in that position completely due to republican policies. But it’s very easy for the republicans to call them lazy bums and blame Obama for creating this problem and say he isn’t helping them, while the republicans are stopping any help he tries to give to them. It’s about time to get the GOP out of politics so we can get this country back on track. Clinton did it once, it can be done again.

      Reply
  2. Tony Stark October 17, 2014

    If today’s liberals will callously murder the unborn, who won’t they attack?

    Reply

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