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Washington D.C. - There is a growing crisis of joblessness for African-American men. Across the country, far too many black men – especially in urban areas – face difficulty finding and keeping work. The numbers are staggering and getting worse.  As far back as 1980, a 20-year old black man was almost twice as likely to be unemployed than a white male of the same age.  Even during the economic boom of the 1990s, the annual labor force participation rate of African American males over 20 dropped from 75 percent in 1990 to 72 percent in 1999, and it remained between three and four percentage points below that of white males with few exceptions. The recent downturn in manufacturing jobs will exacerbate African-American male unemployment numbers because they make up a large share of those jobs.

The JEC examined federal policy solutions, such as job training and social insurance reform, that will help us meet the challenges of this serious problem.  The landmark JEC hearing marked the first significant effort by the committee to address the economic status of African Americans since 1990 and it came on the eve of the release of new employment figures by the federal government.  As of January 2007, the unemployment rate for African American men age 20 and older is 7.5%.

Washington D.C. - Many American families experience substantial variability in their year-to-year earnings and income, and their economic instability may be greater than in the past due to the consequences of globalization and technology. This hearing explored the extent of earnings and income instability faced by middle-class families in our dynamic economy and examine policies like wage insurance and income averaging to empower workers to manage both temporary earnings losses and more permanent declines.  Senator Schumer is working with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Chairman of the Ways and Means Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee, on a wage insurance proposal to be introduced next month.

Washington D.C. - In an increasingly dynamic global economy, many American families are facing substantial new economic risks that are undermining their ability to save for their retirements or invest in their futures.  Unless action is taken to restore a sense of economic security and chance for prosperity to the middle class, the excessive risk shouldered by most American families will take its toll on economic growth. In its first hearing of the 110th Congress the Joint Economic Committee examined the impact of middle class economic insecurity on long-term economic growth.