Pennsylvania in the 70s and 80s

Throughout the 70s, many industries in America fired a majority, if not all of their employees. Many factories closed their doors totally. Many people were now looking for jobs in a major industry without jobs to offer them. Many households were beginning to struggle without an income coming in and some households were now relying solely on the woman’s income. Many people turned to service-based jobs to help families economically. The healthcare industry never fell despite the constant failure around it. Many workers who were fired from industrially economic jobs, turned to the prospering healthcare system to funnel an income into their homes. 

In Pennsylvania during the 1970s to the 1980s, the unemployment rate was rising. By 1981, the unemployment rate was at 9.7 percent, and just two years later it reached 17.1 percent. The poverty rate in the Pittsburgh area alone in 1976 was at 6.7 percent and doubled to 13.8 percent by 1983. Men were unemployed at a much higher rate than women, but Black workers surpassed both demographics. In 1983, the Pittsburgh area alone reached a 17 percent unemployment rate, 25.6 percent of Black people were unemployed. 18 percent of men were unemployed while only 11 percent of women were unemployed. Yet these numbers only accounted for those who were actively looking for work elsewhere. 

There was a rise in physical illnesses during this time as a result of many people being laid off. As a result of stress, many young people die of cancer, committed suicide, or suffered from premature stress. Depression rates increased along with alcoholism and schizophrenia. Many women and children began to seek shelter to get away from domestic violence. 

Head Start programs became very popular. Both the mothers and fathers had to leave their homes to get jobs which left a dependency on head start programs to look after their children. Many Headstart programs had long waiting lists of newly eligible families and children, but not an adequate amount of space to accept all of them, President Nixon did not help create more national programs that would help with daycare shortages. 

The Pennsylvania area helped job shortages with the construction of a new children’s hospital. Jobs would open up for construction workers as well as permanent jobs would be available within the hospital when it was finished. 

During this time, I feel like there was a hesitance to trust any system coming from the government. This shortage of jobs was parallel to the Watergate Scandal which came from the White House. President Nixon planned this scheme and hired many to do the dirty work, he also told many of his staff to lie under oath. This scandal led Congress to limit the power that the president had while in the office while the public was concerned about who is in charge of their country. Many people in the public lost trust in the Presidental Power. The following Presidents who took over after Nixon didn’t mess with the trust of the public but also didn’t woo the public either. The government still had to work to build the trust back from the public.

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