Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

The fact is Mr. Chairman, there are 5,400,000 persons unemploved in the United States. These include persons in all walks of life. I read that unemployment is at a new high among many segments of society, the executive level as well as the blue collar level. This is a most dismaying reflection on the general economy.

Some action must be taken, and in the absence of anything except rhetoric from the executive branch, it behooves us to push this legislation.

The 5,400,000 persons who go to make up the unemployed are persons, not ciphers. We should not forget it. As persons, the majority are heads of families. They live, they eat, they must have clothing, shelter, and even recreation. All these things cost money. And in these days of a deliberately slowed-down economy and persistent inflation, food, clothing, and shelter cost more.

We can expect some improvement in the employment situation as spring approaches. Traditionally, the summer months are those of relatively higher employment. But I am deeply concerned that wishfully waiting for these seasonal fluctuations to solve the unemployment problem will result in a false sense of security; a feeling that somehow if we drift along things will take care of themselves.

Although unemployment is not as great in my district, the 16th in central California, as in some other areas of the country, it is substantial. Merced County has 10.7 percent unemployment according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fresno County has 8.1 percent unemployment. The State as a whole has 7 percent unemployment, again above the national average.

The accelerated public works program, Mr. Chairman, provides for jobs for the jobless and beneficial public works for communities and areas that need them. Thus it accomplishes two worthwhile purposes. I hope it will be even helpful enough, Mr. Chairman, that it can be pointed to next year as an indicator of a recovery in the economyalthough it is designed only as a short-term aid to areas of the country badly in need.

STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES A. VANIK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO

Mr. Vanik. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to make this statement before the committee on legislation to amend the Public Works Acceleration Act to make its benefits available to certain areas of extra high unemployment and to authorize additional funds for this act. As one of the approximately 150 cosponsors of this legislation, I urge immediate enactment of this legislation designed to reduce the staggering level of unemployment which plagues so many of our communities. The bill before the committee makes $950 million available to:

(1) Those areas designated by the Secretary of Commerce as "redevelopment areas” for the purpose of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, in which the Secretary of Labor finds that the annual average rate of unemployment has been at least 150 percent above the national average for one of the two preceding calendar years;

(2) Those standard metropolitan statistical areas in which the Secretary of Labor finds that, for at least 3 consecutive months of the calendar year in which such findings are made, the average rate of unemployment has been at least 150 percent of the national average for the preceding calendar year;

(3) And such other areas designated by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with criteria which he shall prescribe, in which the Secretary determines from available data--that for at least 3 consecutive months of the calendar year in which such determination is made, the rate of unemployment has been at least 150 percent above the national average for one of the two preceding calendar

years. I had the opportunity of testifying before the committee in 1966 on behalf of amendments to permit economic devleopment assistance to particular neighborhoods within cities which were suffering particularly heavy unemployment. As a result, portions of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, have been designated as eligible for aid. Just last Friday, March 12, the Economic Development Administration made two grants to inner city neighborhoods. The first grant provided $177,410 to help continue a job and business development program run by the city of Cleveland's Committee on Community Resources. The other grant was for $194,000 to help revitalize an industrial area and stimulate growth in the near West Side of Cleveland. The money, also granted to the city of Cleveland, involves the construction of offstreet parking facilities and the rebuilding of streets to provide truck access from the Flats industrial section to the Interstate Highway System. Cleveland officials have stated that the project will help retain some 60 businesses which employ some 1,700 persons in the area. It will also encourage existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate in the area. Yet these projects are a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the need.

Although the new census and economic data is not out yet, which would enable me to describe, by census track, the poverty and unemployment in certain Cleveland neighborhoods, it is clear from what is happening to the Cleveland standard metropolitan statistical area that unemployment in these neighborhoods is spiraling. The Ohio Employment Service, in their January 1971 report on the Cleveland metropolitan area stated:

Estimated unemployment in the Cleveland area jumped from 41,900 in December to 47,600 in January, raising the unemployment rate from 4.3 percent of the civilian labor force to 5 percent. Including persons involved in labor-man. agement disputes, total employment dropped from 929,000 in December to a Jan. uary level of 904,800.

In addition, the workweek dropped from 40.7 hours to 40.2 hours between December and January and the number of persons on unemployment compensation was nearly three times the level of January 1970.

This means that the unemployment level in inner city neighborhoods is really skyrocketing. As a January 24, 1971, report from the Labor Department indicates, unemployment in poor urban areas is way above the national average. The report said that the jobless rate in urban poverty sections averaged 7.6 percent during 1970, up from 5.5 percent in 1969. “It was also significantly higher than either the 1968 (6 percent) or the 1967 (6.8 percent) rate.” The rate for teenager residents of poor neighborhoods increased from 19.9 to 24 percent. The unemployment rate for black youth rose from 27.9 to 35.8 percent. There are, in addition, probably thousands upon thousands who have withdrawn from the labor market in frustration and hopelessness. These people are unemployed, but they are no longer reflected in the unemployment figures.

I would like to add at this point that despite the general high level of unemployment and the especially staggering levels of unemployment among youth, the administration is completely failing to provide an adequate youth employment program to meet the needs of the coming summer when millions of college students and highschool students will be seeking work. Currently some $164 million is being programed for this summer's youth work programs. This is $18.6 million below what was available last year. Yet the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have documented the fact that there is a total need of at least 641,639 full-time job opportunities needed nationwide. To meet this need, an extra $144.6 million is needed for youth employment alone. In my area, in Cleveland, Ohio, 10,000 youth jobs are needed but only 5,315 will be available under Department of Labor allocations—thus only 50 percent of the need will be met.

The crisis created by youth seeking summer employment is being acerbated by heavy discharges of military personnel. At the present time, the jobless rate among Vietnam veterans is running at about 7.9 percent.

And youth are not the only ones being hit by the current recession. The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Aging, Senator Williams, of New Jersey, has stated that more than 1 million persons 45 and older have lost their jobs—a 71-percent increase in less than 2 years.

All aspects of this unemployment are frequently concentrated in particular areas. Unemployment in Waterbury, Conn., Wichita, Kans., Flint and Muskegon, Mich., and Seattle, Wash., all runs at above 10 percent. On February 24, 1971, five more major population areas were classified as having substantial unemployment in February, as compared to January, for a total of 45 out of 150 metropolitan areas. This is the largest number of cities so classified in 8 years.

And this unemployment is not likely to pass away quickly—even if the economy has bottomed out as some claim. That is why this accelerated public works legislation is useful—and needed immediately. An article in the February 17, 1971 “Wall Street Journal” stated:

Despite what some people are saying and most people are hoping, unemployment isn't getting set for a nice, long decline. In fact, the rate of joblessness may rise in the next few months. And it is likely to remain high for several months after the expected increases end.

That's the inescapable conclusion emerging from talks with scores of major employers ranging from aerospace firms to refrigerator manufacturers. To be sure, there will be fewer companies making massive layoffs during the 1971 first half than in the final months of last year. But many companies are still whittling away, bit by bit, at their payrolls, and almost none is ready to rebuild work forces.

All this indicates a pressing need for job creation right now. This can be done in a variety of ways. It has been estimated that between 140,000 and 280,000 could be employed in public service jobs in the 130 American cities over 100,000 in population. Many of these public service jobs could already be underway if the President had not vetoed the Employment and Training Act of 1970.

Countless jobs could be created by the impetus given the economy by the bill before the committee, the Accelerated Public Works Act. Mass transit, urban renewal, water pollution control plants, new sewer and water lines-all these public works which we so desperately need could, if financed, begin to put men to work. In the Greater Cleveland community alone, we need to construct an additional $217.9 million in primary and secondary waste treatment works as well as $266.9 million for interceptor and storm sewers. Modernization of Cleveland's area mass transit facilities will take $46 million, while development of rapid transit system in the county could cost $235 million or more.

Mr. Chairman, thousands upon thousands of Americans have been out of work so long that their unemployment compensation benefits and other sources of income are dried up. It is time we acted. I hope your committee can report this legislation within the next 2 weeks. The entire economy, and all those who are unemployed need it.

STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN BRADEMAS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA

Mr. BRADEMAS. America faces an unemployment crisis of alarming proportions.

The figures speak for themselves: More than 5 million Americans are out of work today--the greatest number of jobless citizens in 10 years.

There are now 45 key areas of the country designated by the Department of Labor as having "substantial unemployment." A year ago there were only seven such areas.

It is incredible that these problems exist in the most affluent Nation on earth, where there is obviously potential for full employment.

I believe more should be done on the Federal level to correct the present situation and provide greater emplovment opportunity. What we need is positive action instead of a negative attitude.

It is clearly up to Congress to provide the initiative to alleviate the unemplovment problem, because the administration has failed to do so.

In fact, administration policies have actually contributed to the problems. Witness the "freeze" on Federal funds for public construction projects—a step that has chilled the chances of employment for manv Americans. And witness the veto of legislation to provide public service employment and expanded job training programs.

So it is especially important for Congress to act quickly to counter these decisions by enacting legislation which will return our people to payrolls.

s one of the 150 Members of Congress of both parties who joined Congressman John J. McFall in introducing this legislation in the House, I stronglv support the accelerated public works bill.

This bill is designed to create employment in hard-hit areas through 80 percent Federal grants for local public works projects, with the explicit understanding that a high percentage of the construction cost would be in labor.

The accelerated public works legislation would perform a dual purpose. It would open up new job opportunities for many American workers, and it would give hard-pressed local governments the financial assistance necesary to complete the construction of badly needed public facilities. Many other benefits could be realized through this program.

Municipalities would become more attractive to industry by building new public facilities without overburdening the local tax structure.

The program would have a revitalizing effect on the local economy.

Water pollution could be abated by the installation of sewage treatment plants, for example. The concept is a proven one. This type of program was successful in stimulating new employment as well as the economy a decade ago. With millions of Americans out of work now, there can be no doubt that such a program is needed again.

As a Congressman from South Bend, Ind.—which was designated as an “area of substantial unemployment” more than 6 months

ago I can attest to the many problems which accompany a high rate of unemployment.

There are currently 8,200 persons who are anxious for work but can't find it in the South Bend metropolitan area.

This is demoralizing to the individuals and crippling to the economy of the entire area.

I know that the situation is the same in other areas suffering from high unemployment across the country, and I believe we must take steps to restore jobs for these people and revive the economy of the Nation. Passage by Congress of the accelerated public works biļl would be a major step in this direction.

I hope we will see early and affirmative action on this proposal.

STATEMENT OF HON. THADDEUS J. DULSKI, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Mr. Dulski. Mr. Chairman, for the record, I am Thaddeus J. Dulski, Representative from the 41st District of New York.

At the outset, I want to thank you and commend you for calling these prompt hearings on bills to amend the Public Works Acceleration Act, including H.R. 4400, of which I am a cosponsor.

The need is great for action to provide employment in communities suffering inordinately high rates of economic decline. The number of areas in our country where unemployment has risen to the crisis level has been increasing steadily for many months.

The Labor Department statistics show that unemployment in the United States now has reached 5.4 million, and there are 45 major areas--including my own metropolitan area of Buffalo, N.Y.-which are in the substantial unemployment" category.

The original Public Works Acceleration Act exists, but the entire authorization has been utilized. What we supporters of this new legislation are proposing is the provision of a new authorization of $950,000,000, plus criteria directing benefits to the communities of greatest need.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »