The American Jobs Act and especially the Pathways Back to Work Fund takes an aggressive step forward in meeting the employment needs of Americans struggling with high unemployment, hardship and poverty. With the national unemployment rate hovering over 9 percent, millions of Americans continue to struggle to find employment and meet basic needs. More concerning is that 6.2 million of today's unemployed have been jobless for over 6 months. Graver still is the disproportionate impact long-term unemployment has had on already low-income individuals, minorities and those who face barriers to employment. Youth 16-19 years of age faced an unemployment rate of over 25 percent in 2010. In 2010, 46.2 million people were in poverty - the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been collected and the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. In 2010, 20.5 million people had income below one half of their poverty threshold, an increase of 1.5 million people entering severe poverty between 2009 and 2010. Experts at the Brookings Institution estimate that the American Jobs Act, if enacted, would keep 3 million people from falling into poverty.