USCM president says jobs are key to cities’ recovery
With unemployment numbers in cities growing well beyond national unemployment figures, Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer told a panel of economists that mayors must work with Congress and the Obama administration to create more jobs now. Palmer, past president of the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), was the keynote speaker at a Washington-based Economic Policy Institute's panel discussion on the fiscal challenges facing state and local governments held on Nov 19.
Cities and their metropolitan areas account for 86 percent of all jobs and 90 percent of labor income and gross domestic product, and 94 percent of all future jobs will be generated in metro areas, according to USCM. "Without economic and job recovery in our nation's cities and metro areas, there can be no true national recovery," Palmer said in his address.
For example, National City, Calif., saw 19.4 percent unemployment this year, according to USCM, and several other cities were well above 10 percent. "While Wall Street may be in recovery, Main Street America is still hurting," Palmer said. "Many economists are saying we are coming out of the recession, but mayors are concerned that we are in a jobless recession with many cities experiencing double-digit unemployment numbers."
Cities are now facing the full brunt of the recession with mounting budget pressures at the local government level that translate into budget shortfalls, personnel layoffs and significant reductions in public services. USCM says that targeted fiscal assistance program for local governments will provide immediate relief and spur job creation through local infrastructure projects.
Watch the archived Webcast of Palmer's speech and the rest of the panel discussion.