Civic Health and Unemployment: Can Engagement Strengthen the Economy?

Civic Health and Unemployment: Can Engagement Strengthen the Economy?

Employment in cities and states with high levels of civic engagement in 2006 saw less growth in unemployment between 2006 and 2010, a report from the National Conference on Citizenship, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Civic Enterprises, the National Constitution Center, and the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America finds. The report, Civic Health and Unemployment: Can Engagement Strengthen the Economy? (8 pages, PDF), found strong correlations between civic health — as measured by rates of volunteering, attendance at public meetings, voter registration, and actual voting — and smaller increases in the unemployment rate. Alaska, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, and Vermont had both the highest volunteerism rates in 2006 and the smallest increases in unemployment between 2006 and 2010, while Arizona, California, Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Delaware had both the lowest volunteerism rates and the largest increases in unemployment. The report notes that civic engagement can help people develop the skills, confidence, and habits that make them more employable; strengthens social networks that can help them find jobs; builds trust; and increases investment in their communities.

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