Congressional Black Caucus members John Conyers (D-MI) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) are forming the Full Employment Caucus. This comes amidst a cry for the President to address growing income inequality and as Democrats in Congress push for an increase to the federal minimum wage. Wilson and Conyers have been pushing the “full employment” idea since November, but this month they are creating a caucus that, according to an op-ed penned by Wilson in the Miami Herald, “advocate for policies to create needed training and work opportunities fields including infrastructure repair, building efficiency, early education, public health, and community revitalization.”
One staffer with knowledge of the caucus told Politic365 the caucus hopes to bring together experts to identify proven strategies of job creation as well as generate support for existing bills such as the American Jobs Act and the Full Employment Act, bills introduced by Wilson and Conyers respectively.
Recent labor statistics has the unemployment rate as low as 6.7%. The news isn’t all good for the American workforce however, as many are dropping out of the labor market because of an inability to find jobs. Participation has ticked down to 62.8% the lowest since February 1978. Black unemployment rate remains nearly double the national average at 12%.
The call for full employment is not new. It was a message Dr. King carried toward the end of his life. In 1967 he gave a speech to the SCLC calling for full employment and a guaranteed minimum income. Duke University professor Dr. Sandy Darity has also made the case for full employment. Darity, who is the chair of the Department of African and African American Studies, is also an economist who has pushed for a National Investment Employment Corps as a response to the persistent unemployment felt by many in the wake of the Great Recession.