Education

Labor Department gets $150 million to Help Long-Term Unemployed

February 5, 2014

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (c.) says biggest remaining challenge is reducing long-term unemployment rate.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (c.) says biggest remaining challenge is reducing long-term unemployment rate.


By Marc Bussanich 

New York, NY—The Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, said in an interview after meeting with minimum wage workers recently that reducing the long-term unemployment rate is a vexing problem. The Obama administration recently announced $150 million in competitive grants to help state and local entities place the long-term unemployed in jobs. Watch Video Interview

“The biggest challenge we have climbing out of this recession that remains is helping the long-term unemployed. The grant money is designed to incentivize innovation,” said Perez.

He said the purpose for the grants is to forge partnerships between state and city governments with the private and non-profit sectors to prepare and place the long-term unemployed into jobs.

On Friday, President Obama met with the CEOs of some of the nation’s biggest companies and small- and medium-sized businesses, who pledged to develop best practices for hiring the long-term unemployed to ensure that they are not overlooked during the hiring process.

Perez also noted that the long-term unemployment rate is 2.5 percent, which is about two times as high as it should be.

“If we had the long-term unemployment rate back down to historic levels it usually is after a recession, our unemployment rate would be roughly 5.3 percent.”

Follow Marc on Twitter marc@laborpress.org 

February 4, 2014

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