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High Unemployment, Growing Skills Gap, And Demand For Survival Services Key Concerns Among City Officials New Report Shows

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national survey of city officials released today shows that despite improvement in many economic health indicators, cities around the country report their economies have not yet rebounded due in large part to slow income and job growth. The basic needs of cities' most vulnerable populations are growing, local employer requirements outpace workforce skills, and high unemployment rates continue to plague cities, according to a new National League of Cities (NLC) report.

(Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081022/NLCLOGO)

"While today's report shows some signs of progress, it reminds local leaders across the country that we must continue to drive economic development and job growth in our communities every day," said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, Mayor, Avondale, AZ.  "We cannot have a full economic recovery if our most vulnerable residents are being left behind; accelerating this turnaround requires strong, common sense leadership in Washington who understand that the health of our national economy is directly linked to strong economies in cities and who are willing to support smart investments in cities."

The 2013 survey of city's chief elected officials signals a sluggish overall economic recovery in cities and towns across the United States, despite a broader national recovery. While just over half (52%) of respondents reported improvement in unemployment, two-thirds of city officials said that persistently high unemployment rates continue to cause economic instability in their communities. Further, the changing nature of the economy has underscored the need for local workforces with skills appropriately matched with local employer demand, but data from cities reflects that a skills gap is actually becoming more prevalent.

More than one in two city officials (53%) report that current local workforce skills are posing a problem for the economic health of their community. An overwhelming number of city officials (88%) also reported that workforce alignment has not improved over the past year. Education plays a factor too; more than eight in 10 (82%) of officials responded that the percentage of their population with a post-secondary degree has not increased.

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