INTRODUCTION When both these groups are included, the percentage of workers left out of the recovery was 14.3 percent12 in July 2013—nearly twice the official unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.13 The most effective way to reduce poverty and hunger is to reduce unemployment. Over the decades, the percentage of Americans below the poverty line has closely tracked the unemployment rate. See Figure i.4. A much stronger economic recovery would be good news for everybody, but especially for all who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The federal government needs to take a much more aggressive approach to creating jobs. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) gave a boost to the economy, and it may have prevented a full-blown depression, but Figure i.5 Alternative Measures of Unemployment the White House and Congress Millions clearly underestimated the severity 35 of the recession, so the Recovery 30 Act did not do enough to stimulate Official unemployment + involuntarily part-time + discouraged workers 25 the economy. We need a stronger commitment from both branches 20 Official unemployment + involuntarily part-time of government to achieving full 15 employment. Official unemployment 10 Since the Great Recession, the 5 Job openings Federal Reserve has put more 0 Jan-01 Jan-03 Jan-05 Jan-07 Jan-09 Jan-11 Jan-13 emphasis on reducing unemployment, managing monetary policy Sources: Mike Evangelist and Anastasia Christman (April 2013), “Scarring Effects: Demographics of the Long-Term Unemployed and the Dangers of Ignoring the Jobs Deficit,” National Employto keep interest rates low and try ment Law Project. to stimulate private sector investments that will create jobs. But with Congress and the president almost completely tied up in debates over the budget deficit, Federal Reserve policies have been only modestly successful in supporting job creation. Even though unemployment is still unacceptably high, the Fed is signaling that it will shift toward a less expansive monetary policy that will put less emphasis on jobs. The Recovery Act provided funding to help fix weaknesses in the country’s physical infrastructure. Renovating the nation’s fragile and neglected infrastructure is still one of the best investments we can make to put people to work and help boost economic productivity for the long term. Investments in human infrastructure or human capital, as economists often call workers’ knowledge and skills, also drive productivity growth. We know from decades of research that early education is one of the best investments countries can make to improve human capital. Early education has also prove ???H?H?H?\??^\???]?H?[?[?B??[??H?\??\H[?\??[?\?][?[?\?K?[?H[?H\??[?[???[Z[Y\? ??H?\?B?H??XY?[??\?\?[?\??YX\???[?\?H\?]X\??H?[ H\?H]?[??[??\?K?M?\?\?[??[?\?H?[Z[Y\??YYH?[?\?H??\?[??X\?HYX?][??\???B?X?H?????H?[??\?]?Y[?[??\?[?[?[\?[Y[??Y[\???[?\??][???X????[?[\?[Y[?Z?\?\??H?Y??\??\?[?[??[??\?[?[Y\?X?K?]8?&\??X?\??\?H?]]8?&\???[??Y??X?]\?HZ[[????[Z[Y\?^\?Y[??H[??\?[??]H??[????????[?????[^HH?Y?H]XZ?\?]???X?H???[YKYX\?\??[????\????\???????XY????[??]]x? ??? ??M[??\??\?8? ?M?????