November 2, 2001

As Unemployment Soars, Mayors Renew Call to Help Struggling Workers

Washington, DC -- With unemployment on the rise, the nation's mayors today again urged Congress to take aggressive steps to help those Americans who are out of work or threatened by the slowing economy.

"The impact of this downturn on real people has been devastating," said New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "Real people need real help. We urge Congress to adopt a comprehensive and balanced package to spur the economy and aid struggling workers, including unemployment benefit extensions, health care assistance, and significant increases in job training and placement programs."

On behalf of the nation's mayors, Mayor Morial sent a letter to every member of Congress in early October urging assistance for workers. Specifically, the U.S. Conference of Mayors believe that Congress should -

  • Expand unemployment insurance benefits to those directly affected by disaster-related job loss;
  • Extend unemployment insurance benefits from 26 to 78 weeks for all workers;
  • Modify unemployment eligibility to provide benefits to part-time and temporary workers;
  • Fund $2 billion for additional job training;
  • Provide free or low-cost health insurance to low-income families affected by the September 11 attack; and
  • Support federal subsidies for health insurance coverage through COBRA for unemployed workers.

The Labor Department today announced that the nation's unemployment rate hit 5.4 percent in October with 415,000 jobs lost, the largest one-month job loss in 21 years.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,200 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766
Lina Garcia (202) 861-6719


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors