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At News Conference, Villaraigosa to Congress: "Our Cities Cannot Afford Another Season of Failure"

January 30, 2012


The nation's mayors, led by Conference of Mayors President Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, released an economic report showing sluggish job growth for cities in 2012 during the opening press conference of The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting.

The report, issued by the Conference of Mayors and produced by IHS Global Insight as part of Conference of Mayors US Metro Economy series, predicts that job growth for nearly all of the nation's metro areas will increase this year, but not fast enough to force the unemployment rate below 8 percent.

During the news conference, Villaraigosa told dozens of reporters that based on the report findings, job growth for all metro areas is expected to be mild to weak for many, and that 22 percent of metro areas hardest hit by the housing crisis will take five years to recover.

"The economic recovery is too slow, and it is a direct result of the inaction of this Congress in 2011," said Villaraigosa. "If we gave the 112th Congress a mid-term report card, the grade would be clear. Congress would get an 'F.'"

Nearly two dozen bipartisan mayors also attending the news conference, echoed that while the outlook for 2012 is better for some of their respective metro areas, Congress needs to do their job and support critical programs to spur job creation in their cities.

The report also offered a glimpse into what middle-class families are going through in this economy: median real income for US households in 2010 was $49,455 7.1 percent lower than in 1999, when it was $53,252. This is an important issue for metro areas, as the trend in median income decline has hit cities hardest. For example, from 2009 to 2010, metro area household income fell 2.2 percent while rural areas didn't fall.

At the closing of the press conference, Villaraigosa added: "If Congress flunked the mid-term, it can still get a passing grade. When Congress returns to session, it must make a down payment on America's economic future by investing in our cities."

To view the full report or remarks made by mayors during the news conference, visit the website: usmayors.org.