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Hearing Explores Recession’s Disparate Impact on Minorities

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing this week to examine the economic downturn’s effect on minorities, particularly in relation to unemployment and home foreclosures.

“For most racial and ethnic minority groups, the Great Recession is in reality a Great Depression. People of color were worse off before the start of [the] downturn and have been losing their jobs and their homes at a faster rate ever since,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (N.Y.).

Testimony and an accompanying report from Christian Weller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), on how to level the economic recovery field supported this view. During this recession, which has lasted longer than others, businesses are laying off workers who are facing more difficulty finding new jobs, which in turn impacts foreclosure rates and credit card defaults, now at record highs.

To ensure that minority employment gains match or exceed whites’ Weller recommended investment in the creation of green jobs in low-income communities that will “provide opportunities for advancement and pay good wages” to people without higher education; programs that encourage the pursuit of higher education; and stronger regulations and consumer protections to prevent unfair lending practices.

CAP hosted a conference call on minorities and the recession featuring Weller and representatives from the National Urban League, the National Council of La Raza and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, which can be heard here.

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