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Americans in Poor Areas Want Jobs, But Health Issues Pose Hurdle

published Feb 4, 2018, 1:00:00 PM, by Katia Dmitrieva
(Bloomberg) —
The tightest labor market in years isn’t pulling in all Americans.

Despite a robust job market that added a greater-than-forecast 200,000 positions in January and has seen many companies struggle to find skilled labor, the unemployment rate is 10 percent in impoverished neighborhoods, compared with the national rate of 4.1 percent, according to a Gallup survey for the Center for Advancing Opportunity.

In those communities, about 30 percent of job seekers, both men and women, cite health problems as an obstacle.

“This finding highlights the two-way relationship between low socioeconomic status and poor health in such communities, and the need for more targeted research to determine which health interventions have the most potential to break this negative cycle,” according to the report.

Other hurdles cited by respondents including not enough job openings, low pay, the need to care for children or other family members, and not being qualified for available jobs.

The findings are included in the first report by the CAO organization, a research initiative formed through a $26 million donation to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund from billionaire Charles Koch and Koch Industries Inc. in 2017. Results are based on a survey of about 6,200 people living in “fragile” communities across the U.S., or those with high proportions of financial hardship and limited growth paths. The survey was conducted between May and August.

Almost two-thirds of residents in those communities identify as black or Hispanic, compared with about one-third for the country as a whole, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Washington at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at Ros Krasny
© 2018 Bloomberg L.P

The Author

Walt Alexander

Walt Alexander

Walt Alexander is the editor-in-chief of Men of Value. Learn more about his vision for the online magazine for American men with the American values—faith, family & freedom—in his Welcome from the Editor.

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