: News

Filed Under:

D.C.'s Jobless Rate Masks Poverty Problems

Play associated audio

By Rebecca Sheir

Washington's latest unemployment figures are expected to come out today. Analysts say as the economy recovers from recession, employment could be looking up for D.C. as a whole.

But that isn't necessarily the case for all parts of the District.

Mitch Halaby, an executive recruiter in Washington, says he expects the new numbers to show D.C.s jobless rate has dropped below April's 11 percent, because the government-contract industry is booming.

"But we're also starting to see a lot of the organizations that withheld hiring when the recession began are starting to hire, like the nonprofits," he says. "That's very good news."

But not good news for everyone. That 11 percent rate masks how bad things are in some parts of the city.

"In poorer parts of town, particularly Ward 8, even before the recession, unemployment was at incredibly high levels," says Ed Lazere, with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which studies issues affecting low-income residents. "And it's still at a very high level, with probably more than one out of four people who are looking for work not able to find a job."

Lazere says that's because these people don't necessarily have the skills they need.

"We can't expect that simply having a recovering economy is going to do enough to help people in the poorest parts of town get included in the economy," he contends. "We really need to invest more in training and education to make sure they can take the jobs that we're creating here."

But even then, Lazere says, more needs to be done to improve pay and benefits. He says for every five jobs in the city, one doesn't pay enough to lift a family of four above the poverty line.

NPR

Sorry, Sushi Burrito: Japanese Program Certifies Authentic Cuisine

In a world of Big Mac sushi and Cajun rolls, Japan is launching a new program to certify the 89,000 Japanese restaurants outside the country that uphold traditional washoku cuisine values.
NPR

Sorry, Sushi Burrito: Japanese Program Certifies Authentic Cuisine

In a world of Big Mac sushi and Cajun rolls, Japan is launching a new program to certify the 89,000 Japanese restaurants outside the country that uphold traditional washoku cuisine values.
NPR

The Stream: Cruz On Drafting Women; Jeb Bush Won't 'Blame Obama'

Cruz said he doesn't want his daughters in a foxhole with a "220-pound jihadist psychopath." See more updates from NPR's political team in New Hampshire on the eve of Tuesday's primary.
WAMU 88.5

Call To Get All Maryland Students Internet Access Renewed This Year

Should all students in Maryland schools have access to the Internet and other digital resources? One Maryland Senator is taking up the call again this legislative session.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.