A letter from Lawrence MishelDear Friends,
Each year, the holidays bring a time for reflection and resolutions. As this year draws to a close, we look back on a period of almost unprecedented pain for millions of American workers -- our family members, friends, and neighbors -- who have lost their jobs or seen their hours and wages cut. For many months it has been clear to us at EPI that this suffering will be deep and enduring unless more is done. We have made it our top priority to develop and advance a policy agenda to generate millions more jobs in 2010 and to provide relief to the unemployed and their families.
This has been my personal passion, and it has been the work that has consumed EPI's dedicated economists and staff over the past year. I am very proud to unveil the result of those efforts, EPI's American Jobs Plan, which details a five-part strategy to put America back to work.
Today, almost 16 million Americans are out of work, and one-third of them have been unemployed for more than six months -- a level of long-term unemployment not seen since the Great Depression. The official 10.2% unemployment rate does not count those who have had their wages or hours cut, or who are only working part time because they cannot find a full-time job. This widespread economic distress has left many people struggling to pay for basic expenses. Many have to choose between paying their rent, buying food, or filling prescription medications.