Report: Slumping economy could increase Va poverty

Posted by Colby Rogers - email

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A report by the Commonwealth Institute says Virginia's poverty level could increase by as much as 218,000 people if national unemployment reaches 9 percent.

The Federal Reserve is predicting unemployment could hit that level this week.

If that happens, the Commonwealth Institute says the number of Virginians living in poverty is going up between 159,000 and 218,000. If unemployment hits 8 percent, the poverty figure will rise between 122,000 and 169,000.

The Commonwealth Institute says close to 700,000 Virginians live in poverty now.

Executive director Michael Cassidy says increases in unemployment are linked directly to rising poverty levels and the report gives Virginia a look at what lies ahead as the economy worsens.

The institute is a coalition of advocacy groups for the poor.

(c) 2009. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.