The so-called Great Recession leaves behind 4.7 million long-term unemployed people, the largest number since records were first kept in 1948, according to research conducted at the University of Michigan. In an interview with Kristin Seefeldt, assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan, she discussed the country's highest poverty rate in 15 years.
Seefeldt is an author of 'America's Poor and the Great Recession', along with Prof. John D. Graham, which provides policy recommendations to be considered by government for relieving poverty.
Seefeldt defined poor Americans as those families of four persons who live on less than $23,000 per year. One of five children in the U.S., said Seefeldt, live in these households. Unemployment rates are dropping slowly, according to the expert, but it is not clear whether workers with low levels of education (who are well-represented in this category) are now being brought into the workforce. Moreover, she said, the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "did not do a lot to lift people out of poverty," while she said her book recommends establishing more educational and training opportunities for the unemployed. The ARRA was signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. The cost for ARRA is expected to be approximately $831 billion, to be spent between 2009 and 2019.