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updated 7/8/2013 4:16:06 PM ET 2013-07-08T20:16:06

June's job numbers show positive growth, which is a major win for Democrats and President Obama. Yet, down in New Orleans, the unemployment rate is still high among African American men. Ed is joined by Joy Reid and James Peterson to discuss.

June’s job numbers show positive growth, which is a major win for Democrats and President Obama. Yet, down in New Orleans, the unemployment rate is still high among African American men. Ed is joined by Joy Reid and James Peterson to discuss.

Video: Job Numbers are up, but NOLA still struggles

  1. Closed captioning of: Job Numbers are up, but NOLA still struggles

    >>> show" here in new orleans. in today's "rapid response" we begin with friday's job numbers. employers are becoming i would say a little bit more confident about the economy. i mean how do you really argue with the numbers? according to the latest report we have added 195,000 jobs in the last month. keeping the unemployment rate steady at 7.6%. there were some who said it would never go below 9. this is good news for the president. it's good news for the democrats. it's good news for the country and even better news revisions show that the numbers in april and in may were better than were originally reported. now, what we have seen is 40 months, 4-0, 40 months of consecutive job growth in the private sector while president obama has been constantly vilified by conservatives about he doesn't know anything about the private sector or helping businesses out. the key here is that there has been no help, no coordination, no cooperation with republicans in any of this economic run to bring us out of what we were involved in. now, republicans have been busy, what are they doing? they're wasting america's time and money and focus by going after anti-abortion legislation and repealing obama care which simply is not going to happen. but it's a hell of a headline if you're writing. there could be a lot more positive growth if congress would take their responsibility as seriously as they pick up their paychecks. for more let's turn to our panel, joy reid and dr. james peterson , great to have both of you here. what do these numbers mean? what do 40 months mean?

    >> if this were a normal recession, ed, what you would have had that deep decline, 750,000 jobs. in a normal recession you would pump incredible amounts of federal money at that because what you have to do, you see the demand in the private sector is withdrawn, something has to fill it. if the consumer doesn't fill it typically that's what the government does and that's what you saw t.a.r.p., et cetera . we started to withdraw that stimulus as soon as republicans overtook the house and haul the stimulus so you've seen this steep dropoff. the first recession in the history of this country where public sector employment declined --

    >> in federal jobs.

    >> in federal jobs. what we initially did help the states keep their teachers, nurses, keep their firefighters on the job. that's what stopped us from going into a depression but at the federal level congress keeps putting pressure to reduce and reduce and reduce federal employment disproportionately hurts the economy, women, et cetera .

    >> james, what kind of economic record could any republican candidate put forward in front of americans ?

    >> what they put forward to their base is that we're starving government. remember, that's what they want to do. you can see that at the state level. all the republican executives of different states are doing like our economy. i think we shed 5,000 jobs at the federal level so while we're growing the private sector consistently for 40 months great for the economy imagine how much more robust it would be if we had cooperation especially at the federal level .

    >> would another stimulus package change things.

    >> if listen if --

    >> the president talks about infrastructure.

    >> absolutely, right.

    >> if we were being rational about the economy right now, what we would be doing is looking at the fact we have bridges literally collapsing. we have roads impassable. we have an infrastructure problem that in the eisenhower era would have been addressed by building a massive highway program that would give people jobs.

    >> i want to tie this into our next topic because here in the city of new orleans , unemployment is higher than expect. more than half of working age african-american men in this city were unemployed according to the most recent census. now, this is a dramatic increase in unemployment over the past 30 years. but we should point out over the last 30 years it was not the starvation of government or the starvation of infrastructure projects. the mayor of new orleans recently released a five-year plan by helping to attract better paying jobs in the city which calls for workforce training and support programs for small businesses . back to the panel, the both of you on this, is there any program in an inner city that would turn the unemployment numbers around? i mean how would you do that on a state level or a local level? i mean i have some ideas on it.

    >> absolutely. well --

    >> you'd have to earmark a sales tax . that's what i would do. a quarter-cent sales tax on municipalities that would be earmark money for jobs programs. that's just me talking. it would have to be done on a local level. your thoughts.

    >> remember, even the jobs growth that we're seeing right now are jobs in hospitality and service sectors which is not high paying jobs. if you complement that with public works jobs, the kind of jobs joy's working about, they could stand to use an infusion of infrastructure, federal dollars to help rebuild what has been destroyed and not repaired since katrina.

    >> why do you think the numbers among african men in this city are higher.

    >> let's look quickly nationally. white unemployment, white male unemployment, 6.2%. white female, 6%. african-american female 12%. black unemployment male 16. 16 to 19, 43% for african- americans and in the city of new orleans exceptionally high. look where we are right now. in a building named for more morial's father because he brought this convention center to new orleans and the idea it brought the jobs with it, all the people that had to construct, that helps younger workers and we do also have a deficit. we don't have young people able to do the job we're outsourcing to india . we need to be training young people starting in high school to do stem job, research and science.

    >> in that last segment -- well, there you go. [ applause ] in the last segment we were talking about the outsourcing of the jobs. we should point out that 60% decline in manufacturing jobs in this city

    >> that's right.

    >> when you talk about an industrial revolution the best place to do it is where there's people who are willing to work.

    >> exactly.

    >> but when you have capital which is hard to get and minorities can't get the capital.

    >> that's right.

    >> because they don't have the resources to back them up if business doesn't go well, what else can we do other than some kind of public/private partnership involved with federal money to turn these numbers around?

    >> i think it has got to start there but also long-term we have to level the playing field in terms of corporations. a lot of reasons you see the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs we allow corporations to give tax breaks to outsource those jobs so need to insent advise them to hire american workers here the.

    >> the democrats had a proposal on the table reward companies for bringing jobs back and they voted it down.

    >> i was just going to say that and the president had that too. what they wanted to do was an in-sourcing credit. essentially if you instead of outsourcing manufacturing jobs to india or mexico or to somewhere else if you do it with americans who want to work looking for jobs, then we would give you a tax credit . republicans don't want to do that.

    >> both of you are great. great to have you with us. always excellent insight. joy reid, james peterson . the crowd here at the essence festival


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