Conference of Mayors Sees Double-Digit Unemployment in Metro Areas by 2012

Cities will eventually regain their pre-recession employment numbers, but only after a long, slow climb.

That’s what the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) forecasted in its most recent U.S. Metro Economies report, released earlier this week at its annual meeting in Baltimore, MD. While the USCM’s job outlook was foreboding, the report wasn’t all bad news: assuming that Congress raises the debt ceiling without any disruptions, the USCM projected a jump in growth from the sluggish 1.9% in the first half of 2011 to 3.5% for the second half.

Still, the report also found that it would take until December 2014 for over half of the nation’s metro areas to return to their previous peak employment levels.

Of the 363 metro areas counted by the USCM, 75 of them are expected to have double-digit unemployment rates by December 2011, and 48 of them aren’t expected to reach peak employment until after 2020. “It's time for Congress to get on with the serious business of legislating short and long-term solutions to our jobs crisis. We need to stand for a new world order in federal spending. It's time to bring our investments back home,” said USCM President Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, adding that the seriousness of the nation’s unemployment issue should drive lawmakers to end U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts. “We can't be building roads and bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar, and not Baltimore and Kansas City. Not when we when we spend $2.1 million on defense every single minute. Not after nearly $1.2 trillion spent and over 6,000 lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The USCM also cautioned deficit hawks and lawmakers hungry for spending cuts, noting that other, more pressing matters are at hand for the U.S. “Federal officials need to bear in mind that although the economy needs a credible long-term deficit reduction plan, it does not need an immediate dose of austerity,” said the report. “Aggregate demand is too fragile.”

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer

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