Group Blames Lawmakers for Lagging Employment

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 05:47 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Reacting to high unemployment figures, a nonpartisan group representing young Americans last week accused the nation’s elected leaders of doing little or nothing to advance employment opportunities.
In a statement on the 9.1 percent unemployment rate for August, Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway called on Republican and Democratic lawmakers to “demonstrate empathy and responsiveness toward the millions of people impacted by the poor economy” by getting “out of the way of those who actually know what it takes to create more jobs.”
“Young Americans watched and waited patiently for elected leaders to finish their summer travel and vacations while their own dreams were put on hold by unemployment and underemployment,” said Conway, a former chief of staff at the Labor Department. He said the waiting has taken a heavy toll.
Citing a poll commissioned in April by Generation Opportunity, a non-partisan group that seeks to engage young adults on various issues, Conway noted that 77 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds either have delayed or plan to delay major life changes — such as moving, buying a home, or pursuing another degree or training — because of economic factors.
The poll also found that only 31 percent of young Americans, or so-called “Millennials,” are satisfied with President Barack Obama’s handling of youth unemployment problems.
On a question about government spending and the creation of more economic opportunity, the poll found that 76 percent would favor a decrease in federal spending if they could set the nation’s fiscal priorities; 53 percent said that reducing taxes on business profits would likely lead to more hiring.

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