Following the release of unemployment data for the last week of July, Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities made the following statement:
The data is clear – the economic recovery is stagnant, if not in reverse. Americans continue to lose their jobs, hiring has stalled and more jobs will be at risk if Congress does not take urgent and decisive action. As negotiators continue to debate the details of a fourth stimulus bill, it is imperative they prioritize a comprehensive solution to unemployment in order to keep America working and put the country on the road to economic recovery.
“Our national economic recovery relies on delivering both unemployment insurance and unemployment prevention. The extension of unemployment benefits, while no doubt critical for the wellbeing of many of our fellow citizens, is a band aid; we also need to stop the bleeding. The single most effective immediate measure for unemployment prevention is aid to local governments.
“Assistance to cities must be tied to an extension of unemployment insurance for those who have already lost their jobs. We need to help those out of work and keep America working. We’ve already witnessed more than 1.5 million state and local government job losses since the beginning of the pandemic, with more expected as cities, towns and villages adjust their budgets to account for unprecedented revenue shortfalls due to decreased economic activity in their communities.
“Municipal governments directly support millions of jobs, including police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, education and public health workers, and indirectly support millions in the private sector through funding infrastructure, public works and other economic development initiatives. Further layoffs, budget cuts and cancelled infrastructure projects and capital expenditures directly impact private sector activity and growth.
“By delivering critical direct aid to local governments and extending unemployment insurance benefits, Congress can actually address the current unemployment crisis in a meaningful way instead of simply instituting a temporary stopgap measure and risking the jobs of even more local government employees.”
NLC launched the Cities Are Essential campaign in May, calling on the federal government to ensure there is flexible, direct funding relief provided to America’s municipalities.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.