Commentary: Focus needs to be on job creation

President Barack Obama and Congress must address American joblessness — and soon.

It's a message being echoed from all corners right now. This week in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued an open letter to the president titled "Jobs for America." At the same time, in downtown Kansas City, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked for the national spotlight to move from the group's criticism of the tea party to jobs.

Though the proposed solutions of the two groups differ, they were both right to make this call. Too many Americans are without work today. In Kansas City, the Rev. Jesse Jackson nailed the problem with his statement that while there are rescue plans for banks, automakers, states and real estate, Congress is still unwilling to do anything comprehensive about creating jobs.

The 9.5 percent June national unemployment rate is bad. The 15.4 percent unemployment rate for African-Americans and the 12.4 percent rate for Hispanics are worse. In many urban centers, unemployment rates are much higher yet.

A jobless recovery is not a real recovery. Jobs must be a centerpiece of the national dialogue heading into the autumn elections.

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