Press Advisory

Middle Class in Turmoil

Economic risks up sharply for most families since 2001

Washington, D.C. – A new report to be released tomorrow by the Center for American Progress and SEIU reveals a troubling plight for middle class America. The report, appropriately titled Middle Class in Turmoil, finds the middle class condition to be afflicting many aspects of family economics.

According to the report, more families are more vulnerable today to unexpected events such as a layoff or a medical emergency. A few stark indicators of the precarious financial position of America’s middle class provide a much-needed reality check, highlighting why so many families feel economically insecure today. Over the past five years, the number of families with enough resources to weather a layoff or a medical emergency has declined dramatically, wiping out the gains in financial security that many families experienced in the 1990s.

Specifically:

  • Families are increasingly unable to save for rainy days and are taking on record debt
  • Families capable of weathering this financial crunch are diminishing
  • Declining wealth and savings pose significant risks to middle class families facing a spell of unemployment
  • A medical emergency is an even bigger risk for families’ financial security
  • WHAT: Teleconference on a new report discussing the middle
    class’s economic vulnerability

    WHEN: Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 1:00 PM EST

    WHERE: By telephone. Dial 888-387-8686; Pass code: 7187200#

    WHO: Christian Weller, Ph.D., Senior Economist at the
    Center for American Progress

    Andy Stern, President of SEIU Labor Union

    Biographies:

    Dr. Christian Weller is a Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress, where he specializes in Social Security and retirement income, macroeconomics, the Federal Reserve, and international finance. Prior to joining American Progress, he was on the research staff at the Economic Policy Institute, where he remains a research associate. Dr. Weller has also worked at the Center for European Integration Studies at the University of Bonn, Germany, in the Department of Public Policy of the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., and in universal banking in Germany, Belgium and Poland. His publications appear in publications ranging from the Cambridge Journal of Economics, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the International Review of Applied Economics, the Journal of Development Studies, and the Journal of International Business Studies to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, Detroit News, Challenge, and the American Prospect. Dr. Weller is often cited in the press and he has been a frequent guest on news programs on ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and Bloomberg Television. Dr. Weller holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    Andy Stern is the president of SEIU. Stern began his union career in 1973 as a Pennsylvania social service worker and member of SEIU Local 668 and rose through the ranks before his election as president in 1996. He serves on the board of directors for diverse organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, Rock the Vote, and the Broad Foundation. A frequent blogger, he weighs in on economic and political issues on SEIU.org and as a regular contributor to online outlets such as the Huffington Post.

    Determined to build a truly 21st century union to help ensure that workers, not just CEOs, benefit from today’s global economy, Stern has initiated partnerships with overseas unions as well as multinationals to form effective, win-win alliances. He chairs Wal-Mart Watch, the advocacy group responsible for challenging the retail giant to become a leader in corporate responsibility toward its employees and host communities.

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