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The Toll Of Losing Your Job

We take a closer look at the emotional and physical toll of being out of work.

Job hunters search for a job at Worksource Oregon Employment Department center in Salem, Ore. (AP)

Job hunters search for a job at Worksource Oregon Employment Department center in Salem, Ore. (AP)

Another devastating report on the state of the nation’s job market. 14.5 million Americans out of work, almost half of them more than six months. 

New research shows the longer Americans go without work, the greater the risk not only to their economic futures but to their well-being. No money for doctors or medicine. Feelings of sadness and anger. Family problems, marital discord, kids acting out. 

We look at the relentless worry and debilitating stress of unemployment.

-Betsy Stark

Guests:

Henry Farber, professor of economics at Princeton University. He is an expert on the U.S. labor market.

Rina Dubin, psychologist in private practice for more than 25 years.

Dwight Frazee lost his job as a construction worker in 2008. He has exhausted his unemployment insurance and now is in the process of losing his home. His wife lost her job a year ago. They have a five-year-old daughter.

Leslie Mulcahy, co-owner with her husband of the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT. For more than a year she has invited couples who received pink slips to spend an all-expenses-paid stay at the Inn. So far the Inn has hosted 15 pink-slip couples.

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  • jeffe

    In a word, it sucks. For those over 45 it’s almost impossible to find the same good job you lost.
    If you’re over 50 it’s pretty much over, you are toast.
    Might as well look into buying a good tent with what little money you have left. You’re going to need one.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I was let go from my job on Christmas Eve, 2008. Merry ho ho ho. I found another job soon after but was let go in May of 2009. Since then, nothing. I’m in school now and my wife still has her job, but the tension is still high. I know our situation is not as bad as those some others are facing, and I’m grateful for that. I don’t blame Obama for not being able to fix this mess with a snap of his fingers, but I do wish he and the other Democrats would spend some real stimulus money and create some infrastructure-related jobs to help reduce unemployment. I don’t trust the private sector, which is apparently sitting on both a pile of money and its hands, to help us out; after all, if they don’t need more workers for their businesses to survive, why should they hire them? It seems like they often aren’t hiring just to spite Obama and the Democrats. If that is the case, they are greedy cowards and the real socialist revolution can’t happen soon enough.

  • Ginny Detweiler

    Two years ago I loved my work and had no debt other than a small mortgage. In the course of two weeks I lost my job and income, discovered what pulmonary embolisms and collapsed lungs feel like and realized the limits of catastrophic health insurance. I gained big medical bills and no end of problems. This was all compounded by the death of my mother and then a few months later my brother.

    However, as bad as all that was, it was the frustration of our unemployment system that brought me to my knees. Unemployment isn’t intended to help anyone with a medical problem, so my unemployment benefits were on hold until I recovered. But why can’t I simultaneously apply for jobs and pursue self-employment? And taking contract teaching jobs can really mess up unemployment benefits. The irrationality of the whole process just made my blood boil. I wanted to earn an income. I wanted to end any involvement with unemployment asap, but pursuing anything other than a job sends up red flags in the system. And yes – there is a Self-Employment Assistance Program in Washington state – but if you don’t live in the Puget Sound area or Spokane, you have no access to that program and are limited to benefits based on pursing a job, not self-employment.

    My honesty regarding my health, my contract teaching ($173/week) and my pursuit of self-employment made me suspect in the eyes of the unemployment system. I easily met the requirement for unemployment as I was applying for 3 or more jobs per week and attended the required meetings. If I had lied about my health, contract teaching and pursuit of self-employment I would have received about $2,000 in unemployment income each month (before taxes). Instead I was challenged every week to explain my contract teaching and self-employment activities. I was told that I could pursue self-employment after I depleted unemployment benefits. It made no sense to me – my goal is to have an income again. Every unemployed individual should pursue all options and that is what I have done. Many people will take cash and not report it their weekly unemployment claim. A small part of me wishes I had done that, but I didn’t and depleted my savings instead.

    I wish we had a few people in Congress that understand what this recession really feels like. Members of Congress, pundits,and various experts talk so clinically (and sometimes glibly) about the unemployed but it is rare to hear someone that seems to understand what it is to be unemployed and struggling. I had experienced a lot of success in my career, made a big career change into education 10 years ago and loved it. Right now I have to find the strength to fight for my survival, the confidence to sell my expertise and services to others and the physical stamina to work long days every day. I can look back with pride and a wonderful sense of accomplishment and contribution; but when I look forward it is with a sense of fear. Being unemployed, over 50 and now needing a cane to walk is horrible. Being challenged each week by the unemployment system for pursuing all income opportunities was beyond frustrating. For the first time in my life I don’t sleep well and struggle with depression. I avoid thinking beyond what I have to do over the next few days.

    If you refer to this email on the air, please don’t use my name.

    I have felt overwhelmed, and very much alone. I miss the feeling of accomplishment and contribution, of being a member of a team. I have lost my sense of confidence. I am now trying to launch a business on a shoestring – it is hard in the best of times, it is even harder when you are under-capitalized and struggling to find my confidence again.

    M

  • cory

    Losing my job made me think about the artificial constructs that constitute the global market. This world easily produces enough natural resources for everyone, yet in the name of capitalism many of us lose our homes or go hungry. When you are on the losing end of this equation it can make you bitter or even hateful.

    I say eat the rich. They have claimed throughout history that we can’t live without them. They claim to carry the banner of culture and wisdom, and that the machinery of civilization cannot function without their guidance. I say let’s give it a try.

  • http://ncpr.org stillin

    Please don’t confuse people who have lost their jobs for REAL, with construction workers who work the system, work, get laid off and collect unemployment, work, get laid off and collect unemployment. No offense of any REAL construction workers who WANT to work all year. I am married to one, albeit seperated right now my choice, who works it like a pro. I teach. Maybe I should be able to collect unemployment when I am “not working”. No offense to the real people struggling, but in the multi-billion dollar construction industry, the free ride is all winter up here.

  • Underemployed Engineer

    I have been doing handyman / landscape work since being let go after yet another corporate merger. I was a software consultant making $100K/year, with degrees in electrical and software engineering.

    Now I make $15/hour pulling weeds and digging ditches. I’m over fifty and the work is really more than my body can take, but I’m glad to have some income. There are no jobs for people over 50…education and experience don’t trump corporate health care costs.

    Yesterday as I was weeding, two kids walked by and one said to the other: “Hey why don’t you ask that guy what its like to be a high school dropout?”

    That means I’m real close to the bottom of the economy, just one step above beggar.

  • bob

    After working straight from the age of 19 to 57, got laid off. severe depression, daily panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and even tough I have some contract work for a while (after 11 months out) it has forever scarred me. I now know the hell of mental depression.

    Unemployment is a very, very serious life tragedy.

  • Sam E.

    Even though, I didn’t technically lose a job, I was recently dismissed from a professional degree program. If I lost not only a job but also a career and vision of what I thought my life would be. I am now looking for a job, I feel my experience so far though has left me poorly equipped to work in the kinds of work I am applying to now.

    What’s more the process seems really confusing and inefficient. I actually envy my father who was able to mail resumes into actual office locations where he knew he could contact a person if he wanted to. I feel like I have a lot of good skills and work experience but nothing has really prepared me to look for a job.

  • William

    Looking back over the last 35 years I feel that we were conned into believing that manufacturing jobs don’t matter. I cringe at the announcement of any more “free trade” agreements being signed by our government. Our “leaders” are so proud to point at the “inflation fighting” cheap, lead filled, slave labor produced imports from China as if they have built a new Panama Canal. Such a sad state of affairs for a once great nation.

  • jeffe

    Congress is now using language that either demonizes the unemployed or they seem to be prepared to except that our country is going to have high unemployment. The economist Paul Krugman stated in an OPED recently: I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is “structural,” a permanent part of the economic landscape — and that by condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they’ll turn that excuse into dismal reality.

    I’m inclined to agree with him. The link below is for the rest of the OPED.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/opinion/02krugman.html?ref=paulkrugman

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/opinion/09krugman.html?ref=paulkrugman

    Robert Reich has also been writing about economy and the last 4 articles he has posted on his blog are well worth reading. Why either of these men are not on today’s show is beyond me.

    It is interesting how in Germany they did everything they could to keep people working. Instead of laying huge masses of people off a lot of companies put workers on half time with less pay. Now that the rescission is easy up Germany’s work force is better equipped to produce and their unemployment level is holding at about 7.5%. Of course they also have good social safety nets in place. In the US on the other hand a lot of companies have slashed their work forces by as much as 20% or more and which might have seemed like a good thing in the short term but in the long run will hurt and hinder these companies which might lose their competitive edge.

    http://robertreich.org/

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    I’m with cory on this one. I heard Llotd Blankfine say on the radio that he didn’t know how water gets to his tap, and Donald Trump admitted on the Colbert Report that he didn’t know what the 13 stripes on the American flag meant. The rich are idiots. Why would we want their guidance when they are the ones who led us into the current mess. If we aren’t careful, they’ll probably try to profit off of getting us out of it too, just like 1929.

  • Larry

    Corporations are out-sourcing, off-shoring jobs as fast as they can. If they hire now at all it is as temp workers. 1 month then good-by get someone else so they will not have to pay you unemployment benefits.

    Our government and the private corporations can’t or won’t create jobs for the 20 million people who are unemployed (9.5% is a big lie).

    Our government won’t stop the H1-B visa program and send those people home. (2 million jobs)

    Our government won’t stop the illegal immigration and send those people home. (11 million jobs)

    Our government won’t do a direct jobs program (that would be socialist).

    Our government is now stopping all help for the long-term unemployed.

    So what choice do the people have but to EAT THE RICH?

  • Rob

    I do feel sympthathy for people who lose their jobs, but I also worry that the recent continued expansion of Government is creating such a urden on the private sector that companies will be reluctant to expand unless they know for certain they have higher demand for their products and/ or services.

    There was a good editorial in today’s WSJ written by a small business owner that demonstrates the difficulty Government imposes on business owners (in this case small business) hen hiring additional workers. When you add all up all the taxe and fees, governments impose a 33% surcharge to hire workers at a salary of $59k (and the toll would be higher in NYC)!! Businesses are reluctant to expand as a result of both economic uncertainty and the cost of hiring workers, which they expect to increase.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704017904575409733776372738.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

  • Larry

    Rob,

    Wall Street Journal is now owned by Rupert Murdoch who is Australian, his wife is Chinese and the next biggest shareholder in News Corp (Murdoch’s company) is a Saudi Prince.

    These are 3 reasons alone that Americans should not be reading that piece of foreign propaganda.

  • jeffe

    The editorial section of the WSJ is not known for it’s truthfulness and it’s right wing bias is over the top.

    I take anything published in this section of the WSJ with a grain of salt.

  • jeffe

    Anyone over 45 or 50 who has lost their job is in for a world of hurt. Like I said, by a good tent.

    Once you are over 50 you are toast, period.

  • Mari

    I have survived a near-fatal car crash, I have shoveled horse manure for 5 bucks an hour to provide for my kids, I have endured innumerable hardships in life- BUT- The intractable unemployment I have had to confront over the past 2 years has got the very real potential to kill me. Millions of other hard-working, tax paying, responsible American workers also face extinction on a mass scale.
    WHY?
    Please have the experts tell us why we have been marked for early deaths due to man-made poverty. I have exhausted all my resources- financially, socially and emotionally- and cannot see a way forward until the government does SOMETHING to help create jobs for the millions and millions of us who are so severely crippled by this bad joke of an “economy.”

    The free market has failed miserably during my lifetime. We need to do something else,now, or God knows what will happen next.

  • Matt R.

    I did everything “right”. Put myself through college (Cum Laude), worked long hours, put myself through grad school. After 20 years in the automotive sector, I was down-sized 3 out of 4 jobs. Changing industries didn’t work; I was laid off after 11 months in pet food. Now, I’ve been unemployed for 16.5 months, have applied to 379 jobs, and have had NO offers. This has been a crushing experience.

  • john

    UNEMPLOYEMENT IS A DISASTER …
    as a mdddleaged white American male , I feel i have nowhere to turn ..

    I am left with and angry wife and demanding teenagers..
    i feel im letting everyone down including myself…

    Our housing is threatened ..

    it feels like the end!

  • Gamble

    Despair! I’m a temporary worker. If I don’t work every hour, I don’t get paid. I haven’t seen a doctor in 3 years. If I get a serious illness that I didn’t know about, I will be a bigger strain on the healthcare system, yet I can’t afford to take care of myself. Saying, “Don’t pay the mortgage this month, instead go to the doctor for preventive care.” is just not realistic.

  • Bill Vieth

    I was working for an airfreight company for 11 years after 20 years in the military when I was furloughed. I immediately began to apply for federal jobs that required the skills I had polished over 20 years in the Coast Guard. It took me six months of sending out 5-10 resumes per week to even get an interview and 9 months before I was told I had a position. At that I was still required to move from Ohio to Massachussetts at my own expense. If I hadn’t had the specialized skills from my prior experience and if I hadn’t been willing to relocate at my own expense I still wouldn’t have a job. As it is I can’t sell my house in Ohio and I have been seperated from my family for 9 months now. The toll on me an my family will be long term and I will never again look at job security the same way.

  • John

    I’m in my mid-30′s, have 2 Ivy league degrees, and have been out of work for almost two years. While my relationship with my kids has never been better, my relationship with my self is in rough shape.

    There is still a stigma against unemployment, despite the state of the economy, and I find it very hard to continually use terms such as “Independent,” “unemployed,” or “layed-off” during the inevitable “…and what do you do?” conversations… and the internal conversations with my psyche are far more demoralizing.

  • T. Sanchez

    I am recently out of college and was laid off after a year of what could have been an exciting career. After a brief stint on unemployment insurance and looking through countless classified ads I decided that if I couldn’t find work I would make my own. I have started an architectural design consulting company that has had relative success in its short history. I feel that this recession will push younger citizens to generate a more efficient and productive economy in the future.

  • Grace

    I am one of the students that has graduated into this job market. I graduated with a Master’s degree in 2007, and I could not find a job. I had to move back home to live with my mother, which is still where I live. I finally found a job at the local mall. I have another job, but it does not require the skills I have obtained in school. I do get disappointed in the job market, and sometimes I feel like a disappointment.

  • Jenna

    I have over $90,000 in student loans, I graduated from my MFA in 2004. The jobs I go for don’t hire me because I am “overqualified.” This word has caused serious distress. I thought I was doing the right thing, getting an amazing education. But I have been unemployed for…I don’t even know how long anymore. I can’t pay my student loans or my credit cards. My phone gets shut off every other month. I live hand to mouth, on contract work. I am luckier than many people but as I was already suffering from clinical depression, things have gone from bad to worse. I eat when I am stressed. I have gained a significant amount of weight and am having a very difficult time loosing it. I have difficulty sleeping at night, so I am considerably sleep deprived – which causes a whole host of other problems. This is just the most awful time in my life. I know I am going to be one of those old ladies that doesn’t trust the banks and squirrels cash around the house, that people will find in different hoardes after I die.

  • Rob

    Larry/Jeffe,

    I do not disagree that the editorial page of the WSJ has a conservative bias (as most editorial pages in other papers have a liberal bias). This is why I generally prefer the news pages of most newspapers. However, this particular opinion piece was written by a specific New Jersey business owner discussing costs Government imposes on hiring workers. It will be impossible for the US to get out of this unemployment if Government makes it overly expensive for the private sector to hire people.

  • Earl null Shepherd

    This issue must be interesting to African Americans in a different way from white Americans. Historically speaking, African Americans have faced this type of long term unemployment. Many of the problems that we see among African American families are now being experienced among middle class white families. As a nation, we should have learned what it means not to have a job that can support their families.

    Based on the experiences of African Americans, the future for many white families is clear.

  • Larry

    Millions of people in this country are losing their jobs, their life savings, their homes and their futures because of the criminals on Wall Street!

    Thank you Bush and Obama administration for giving the criminals on Wall Street trillions of dollars and no help for the people of this country!

  • RBP

    Larry’s comment (“So what choice do the people have but to EAT THE RICH?”) may seem extreme, but a little thought will demonstrate its aptness. Rich people live healthier lifestyles (diet and exercise) than the poor, so they would taste better and be more nourishing. In that way they would, for the first time, contribute to the public good.

  • jeffe

    Is Washington listening to this show? Are they listening at all?

    The republicans say no to everything and think giving tax cuts will create jobs, which is not true. If it was we would have booming economy during the Bush years and we did not.

    Obama and his economic team are not doing enough.
    I will say this, if these idiots in government do not start to pay attention they will be dealing with a lot of civic unrest. The destruction of these peoples lives on this forum is on the politicians heads.

  • Gerald Fnord

    I can’t shake the feeling that our system allows some of us to suffer greatly, and most of the rest of us to be rightfully afraid thereof, because that’s how the people who own our society’s power like us to be. Frightened people are easier for irrational demagogues to push around, for bosses to employ, for preachers to dictate to, for producers of baubles to sell-to; fear tends to turn off Reason, in whose sweet Presence so many of the phantoms which constrain us melt into air.

    Things aren’t helped by the fact that we basically hate jobs, and should do. We should hate taking orders, giving orders, and expending bits of the sole, finite, life we will ever have on alienated labour…so we are in the position of desperately wanting something we should hate.

    (And how can you force yourself to get up, dress in an others-approved manner you wouldn’t, and then endure a commute, without making it hate yourself?)

    I can’t shake the feeling that jobs will stay the way they are, as too many people, and in particular too many, powerful, men, _enjoy_ this S&M game (my apologies to those who like _consensual_ S&M games).

    ‘But, thankfully,’ he said ironically, ‘I’ve got a job now.’

    Side note:
    I felt bad comparing the feeling of helplessness learned after a couple of years’ looking for a decent job with that felt by prisoners, criminal and otherwise. Then I read Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”, in which he explicitly compared the feelings of helplessness he saw among his fellow inmates of Dachau (admittedly, not a death-camp, but still worse than many prisons), and didn’t feel so unpleasant about the comparison.

    Reaction:
    Oh, and ‘Kevin’: not all of us have a mother who can buy us a car. Not all of us are constitutionally (in the original sense of the word) able to do the things you actually _have_ done for yourself, and if more of us were, and so competing with you, maybe you wouldn’t have been able to do them…in any event, if you’re tired of us mere Menschen, I suggest you retire to Gault’s Gulch, unless of course they’ve all died of spleen or of a plague borne by an improperly-sanitised telephone.

  • Richard Levins

    I am just old enough to remember the Great Depression. What strikes me as different is that today people seem to confront joblessness as personal tragedy. Back then I recall the excitement of the unemployed organizing to demand jobs as a right, my grandmother coming home from canvassing among unemployed women. The sense of being in this together was a wonderful antidote to the depression and loss of self esteem when we face unemployment alone.

  • Roman

    Unemployment is testing the limits of US fascination with Capitalism.
    Masses of millions of old and young workers with no means of income, nor social network, will force US society to fundamental changes on the basic structure of the country (as it has happen in other countries). The destruction of the middle class is the destruction of the american values and ideals as we know it.
    We’ll need to rethink the next chapter

    The danger is that radicals and populist, like the tea party, takes advantage of this dramatic situation to create a dangerous and unstable crisis of unthinkable proportions

  • Mari

    We all have the same story. So, why aren’t we getting together and taking it to the streets? Why aren’t we banding up to form collaborative businesses? Is it because the “winner take all” American mentality and all the right-wing, anti-socialist rhetoric has convinced us that we are all on our own to sink or swim separately?
    It’s time to get together, folks.
    Forget your secure, safe suburban life. It’s all over. We need to re-create our lives. That cannot be done in a single-serving, isolated manner. It’s got to be US, all together, just to LIVE or we’ll face a miserable, wrenching death all alone, with nobody left to care.

  • Larry

    The answer is before your eyes people.

    If only you can see it.

  • Kevin Kirsch

    What is crazy to me is that you hear about how heads of companies had to give up 100 million a year but still get 28 million by being fired by HP. We have people loosing out on a max of 408 a week for unemployment and there you have corporate execs who do as they wish and also eliminated jobs get huge amounts of money by eliminating jobs for US people and taking advantage of people making pennies. There is something just not right in that for us and also for those people in third world countries or even China.

  • Marc

    Keep in mind that all media and experts get attention (and funding) by highlighting the doom and gloom. And many people seem to be attracted to this – might be the same group that slows down for a car accident. An actual unemployment rate of approx 17% is a nightmare and I absolutely believe that there are hundreds of thousands of tragedies caused by this. But bad decisions are made during times like these. Protectionist legislation, creating millions of government jobs while exploding the national debt, paying people an indefinite period of time to not work, etc. will make things worse while making us feel like we’re doing something.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take dramatic steps. End illegal immigration, continue to pay unemployment (just not indefinitely), reduce bureaucracy for new businesses, single payer health care, takes breaks for those build jobs (yes, some of those will be called rich), etc.

  • kim thomas

    I am 55 and worked for 40 years without ever collecting unemployment. When the law firm for whom I worked laid me off last december, I applied for unemployment but that ended in june when my six mon. Kentucky apparently has not yet put extended benefits into place per the july 22 congressional vote. So I have had no income for two months except for the part time wages I earn from odd jobs. This is not only financially devastating, it has caused me to be emotionally fragile and my physical health is declining rapidly since I have no healthcare due to, you guessed it, no money to pay the doctor. Particularly frustrating is that when I visited the unemployment office in june I was assured everything was in place for extended benefits. Now I seek food from sources like gods pantry and have to ask my church for help with sustenance too. It is demeaning the way impoverished people are treated and that adds to loss of self esteem.

  • Larry

    Long term unemployment allows people to sharpen their skills and knowledge.

    Why? Because when people are working don’t have the time to keep it with advances because of having to work more and more hours in recent years.

    Employers, if they were smart, would realize this and take the unemployed first because they will be more up to date.

    But employers are often stupider then stupid.

  • Mari

    “I can’t shake the feeling that jobs will stay the way they are, as too many people, and in particular too many, powerful, men, _enjoy_ this S&M game (my apologies to those who like _consensual_ S&M games).”- Gerald

    A very good analogy, Gerald. Yes, sadism and the degrading subjugation of others is an American affliction that men and women, alike, seem to take delight in. As long as they’re still working, that is.

    Let’s do a deliberate boycott (not a forced retail abstention due to poverty) of all American businesses for one full week. Let’s see, then, who still has a paying job and a bloodthirsty, sadistic attitude towards the unemployed.
    There’s Power in numbers, people!

  • Gary

    I’m so tired of shows like these, Tom had a show around this similar theme a few months ago, everyone already knows hardship is difficult, its only a question what you do about it.

    No one ever said the world was fair, and nothing is forever, most people I know in 25 years of Fortune 50 companies I’ve worked for have never had a plan, and whine “poor me” when things change. Change is the only thing you can bank on.

    That means, constant reinvention and learning is absolutely essential to remain relevant and hired throughout a lifetime. That means changing jobs, careers, where you live, colleges, and being responsible that you don’t overextend yourself financially, and nearly everyone I know literally have bought houses that never figured in what happens when things change, or bought cars, vacation homes, had a few extra kids, gadgets, etc etc.

    Those that don’t get what it takes to make it in this world are going to get fried, especialy now, as with no major innovations or infrastructure being built, everyone riding off those coattails is going to be roadkill. Wishing and hoping isn’t going to change a damn thing. Time to wake up and get in shape people.

  • Ann

    I commented on air over a year ago, saying that for years I had seen this deep unemployment coming (since NAFTA at the very least). And that for years I believed that we should have national health coverage (single payer) in place and then cut all maximum work weeks to 25 hours. I said, then more people could work, more people could get skills from working, and the country could “even out”, making the lowest-common-denominator of success available to all. I also said that then more people would have time to volunteer, to help the elderly, the disabled, those in need. They’d also have more time to develop hobbies which might develop into new careers and maybe into new businesses and even new economies! As much as I love this show, all the (female) guests and (female) host laughed at my idea (something rarely heard on On Point — ridicule of the caller!) I’m sure they were each so personally stressed out that they could not imagine the vision I was describing. Too bad. I was intuitively correct, at least according to the post, above, (9:16) from Jeffe:

    Jeffe said: “It is interesting how in Germany they did everything they could to keep people working. Instead of laying huge masses of people off a lot of companies put workers on half time with less pay. Now that the rescission is easy up Germany’s work force is better equipped to produce and their unemployment level is holding at about 7.5%. Of course they also have good social safety nets in place. In the US on the other hand a lot of companies have slashed their work forces by as much as 20% or more and which might have seemed like a good thing in the short term but in the long run will hurt and hinder these companies which might lose their competitive edge.”

  • les Wetmore

    The call, Dwight, talking about the middle class is spot on. Why is it that so my people are on the way to the poor house while wallstreet scum take home giant bonuses? Maybe by by the letter over the law they did no wrong, but it is very clear awarding these bonuses is unconsonable! What do those people produce anyway? Can someone please explain why we need wallstreet so much?

  • Webb Nichols

    Economists have agreed that the United will from this time forward experience 7-9 percent permanent unemployment.

    Until there is parity in wages throughout the world the United States will never be able to sell a significant amount of its products to the world’s economy.

    Respectfully,

    Webb nichols

  • Charles

    I think the problem of unemployment has more to do with the fact that corporations have become risk averse. The use of Hedge funds and derivatives has made them all afraid to invest. They’re more concerned with profit margins and keeping share holders happy than they are about investing in creating jobs. I suppose we need a complete collapse before these companies realize that sooner or later there won’t be a middle class to buy their products

  • Paul

    Hey, I know it’s tough out there but hearing the whining about the gov’t not helping etc etc is a strawman. Obama been adding weeks to UI benefits (without the just say no GOP) but there has been help. Back in 1980 when Reagan fired PATCO, that was when the Big Corp/Gov’t lackeys took over. As an airline employee whose firm have been around over 50 years was out of biz in 9 years. THERE WERE NO programs for ex-airliners, maybe we got 52 weeks of UI, but the rest of you were happy to see the union workers get ax. I worked hard at increasing my skills at 40. My first meaningful job now with a BA was for half the pay of the airline. Suck IT up you guys and get busy righting your ship. ACTION cures FEAR! PS: The UI rate in 1982 was 9.7 folks.

  • Larry

    Hey Gary,

    You must identify with the criminal rich who have stolen the wealth of this country and bought our government to do it.

    There are 20 million jobs gone in this country in the past 2 1/2 years. Yeah, just keep up with the times.

  • ThresherK

    Rob,

    Where is the demand for private sector goods and services going to come from? Businesses who don’t expand until they know they can get their investment back? People, the vast bulk of the middle-class and working-class whose benefits from George W. Bush’s tax cuts and “recovery” amount to a rounding error?

    This oenerous tax burden you speak of is largely a figment of the right-wing’s imagination. Even letting the Bush “let’s blow a hole in the budget because Republicans’ deficits don’t matter” tax cuts expire, as they promised would, makes very little difference to people who aren’t way up there in income and assets.

    To put it another way: Joe The Plumber tried this crap once and it didn’t fly. Don’t try it again.

    Governments spend more money during and immediately after recessions. That’s where demand comes from at this point in the cycle. A bunch of Republicans are dead set on tearing down whatever’s left. For the first time since the Great Depression, they’re making a stink about extending unemployment benefits. And because they need to feel superior, everyone who is jobless now gets to be called lazy and shiftless and living high off the hog of…$350 a week?

    How little do these Republicans care about people? The last jobless numbers showed some increase in private sector jobs–the kind of numbers that George W. Bush’s “recovery” hardly ever attained. So where did the bad numbers come from? State and local gov’ts running out of money.

    I’m wondering how much starving governments, letting roads crumble, firing teachers, firefighters and cops, Republicans are willing to do before the midterm.

  • P

    The strain is affecting my family too profoundly, everyone’s emotional viability is shredded and the prospect of getting a decent job as an over 50 highly skilled professional is grim.
    The support of spouse and grown children needed by a long-term unemployed person evaporates along with the food supply, blame, finger-pointing breaks out all round. Family just can’t understand why you can’t land a job – I can’t understand it.
    There appears to be a MAJOR disconnect in American society between those fortunate enough to have a job with their less fortunate alter ego’s who have been thrown to the wolves. Those WITH jobs should be outraged – they’re next to be rendered redundant to help make profits for the few.
    I have been participating in multiple networking groups, everyone seems to be in their 50′s.
    There is no safety net for the middle-class. If you need more income than the max available on unemployment you’re doomed.
    There are millions of us doomed.
    Those with the power to improve things are either unwilling or impotent to invest in change that can help this country.

    The spiral of despondency and despair is crushing me and my wife of thirty-six years. My two grown kids are struggling to keep calm but the least little extra stressor breaks people down.

    Let’s ONLY talk about the current recession – for us its a depression, no doubt about it.

    Let’s follow the money – there is a huge inventory of fire-sale, high-end real estate coming online which will be harvested by “specialized” banks.

    There are millions of us out here waiting for the next blow and the axe to fall.

  • http://www.newspeakdictionary.com Winston Smith

    It’s all right here. There’s little doubt that the convergence of technology and the individual has lead to a concern by those in power that they are losing control. You can expect an even more dystopian existence going forward as they reassert their control by de-leveraging the masses further reduce individual freedom while increasing surveillence.

    Those who are foolish buy into the falsehoods of left versus right, or corporate versus public – have really missed the point. Open your eyes!

    “The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact.”
    -Emmanuel Goldstein

    http://www.newspeakdictionary.com/go-goldstein.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Theory_and_Practice_of_Oligarchical_Collectivism

    Behold as the “magic curtain” is torn away from your eyes…

  • Fiona Wake

    What this recession has shown us is a change in the perception of the American Dream. For a long time working people have been fed the line that if they work hard then they will be able to have a happy family, two cars, a dog, a yard, and a house. Working hard is supposed to be the answer to everything. The working poor have seen that this American mantra is an illusion, but this is the first time that middle class and even upper class have had to deal with the fact that is simply is not true. People have worked hard and tried their best, but it does not get them any closer to their dreams. The problem is not that people are not trying, or that elected officials do not understand working class America, but that the system itself is broken. It has been broken for a long time, before 2008/9, before 2001, before the slight recession of the 1980s. It is only now that we are finally able to see it for what it is. The American dream is based on consumption. People need to keep buying and keep building for the economy to continue growing. If the economy stops growing, it collapses. Expansion, however, is based on the ability to save. From savings come the seeds for borrowing money. Without savings, expansion and growth is impossible. The lack of cushion discussed at the beginning of the show is not a symptom of the recession or a factor that makes unemployment all that more difficult, but rather the cause of the economic downturn. When a nation as a whole and individually speaking are deeply in debt there is no way to even consider savings. And a long term lack of savings takes its toll. It all has to come to a head a some point, and it did. What is keeping us down is the fact that when you are at the very bottom and can barely survive on what you are making you cannot save either. The lack of savings problem persists. It is simple Keynesian economics. I think people should understand and think about that before they start blaming X politician or Y politician.

  • Larry

    People who sill have jobs and think they are morally superior to the unemployed.

    My words to you.

    Just wait. They are looking at you next to get rid of. If your pay is too high or you are costing them too much in health insurance your days are numbered too.

  • Dore Schary

    I think commentators have it backward: Republicans aren’t worried about better unemployment insurance because it increases the deficit; they’re concerned about the deficit because it allows them to oppose better unemployment insurance.

    Decent unemployment insurance weakens the power of the bosses—no, they’re not a shadowy group who meet to conspire against the rest of us, rather they are just like the rest of us but with more resources, perhaps more will to boss people around, and so a strong incentive to act in ways that are their interests (individually and collectively) and definitely not in ours.

    We should not hate them for acting as they do, much as we should not hate any amoral creature that is merely acting according to its nature—and the dominant ideology of the past few decades has ENCOURAGED us to reject moral agency in a Market context. (Beside, hate keeps you from thinking clearly, and rationality is our friend, not theirs.) We should merely just not let them get away with it.

  • http://ncpr.org stillin

    For many, unemployed is the quivalent to “poor” in this country, and THAT, being poor, IS a crime here…just watch and listen to how people with any kind of money problem are treated…worse than dogs. You wonder why the vibe in this country is sooooo bad. You can’t win anymore, why play the game?

  • Mike

    Several years ago I lost my job in a down sizing effort along with 250 other management employees after 32 years of employment at the age of 52. Most of us were over the age of 50. I felt with my education and experience it would be relatively simple to obtain another job. Boy was I wrong. It appears after the age of 50 few companies are interested in hiring you. I submitted well over 100 job applications. After 1.5 years I was able to secure employment at 1/3 less pay. For me it was like the death of a loved one. I also lost my family of long time friends. Fortunately my wife helped me through much of the anguish but as much as we’d like to get past this it still haunts us. My belief is those 50 and older struggle more to get past discriminatory hiring policies even if it is against the law. Most of us will never fully recover at a time we need to be saving for our retirements. Obviously I will need to work much longer than anticipated to recoup the loss. Fortunately I now have a job to work at (at least for now).

  • Robert

    There’s a very effective prescription for impoverish workers forced to this kind of depression and untenable position :
    Pitchforks

  • Mari

    “…the criminal rich who have stolen the wealth of this country and bought our government to do it.”- Larry

    Thanks, Larry, for calling it like it is. Even when they’re thumped over the head with it- repeatedly- have you noticed how many “smart” people are in deep denial over this criminal reality? What are they feeling guilty about, that’s what I want to know!

    OK, all unemployed folks out there- let’s stop feeling guilty about getting screwed over by these creeps, just because we trusted ‘em and followed all their arbitrary “rules.” They WANT us to blame ourselves and feel so bad about life that we just give up & croak! That way, it’s a guaranteed “win” for them, without even trying.

    Larry puts the guilt where it properly should hang (hmmmm…now, there’s a graphic image) over the necks of the big, ultra-greedy Wall Street black-hats and their sniveling senatorial errand boys in D.C.

  • ThresherK

    they’re concerned about the deficit

    Dore,

    You have the rest of it accurately, but don’t just assume they care about the deficit. They don’t.

    Which ones are still insisting that the Bush cuts paid for themselves? Which ones said on the air that a new tax cut for the rich doesn’t have to pay for itself (the way they insist unemployment benefits, TANF or things for poor- and middle-class folks have to)?

    This is another example of Right-wing birthrighteousness: Nothing they do or say will get them considered by the mainstream media, or NPR, as fiscally irresponsible.

  • Sam

    I understand the mental and physical effects long term unemployment causes and I am sorry for these hard times affecting those who are earnestly looking for a job to support themselves and their families, BUT! here is another story!

    My ex, is on 2 years of unemployment now, sat on his butt, complained and whined about the loss of jobs in a construction industry. Hasn’t done anything to change. Not get another degree, nor look for another line of work. He went on a week long vacation to a foreign country last year, because he just needed a break from playing video games, drinking, hanging out with friends and watching tv. While I worked, full time, got pregnant, gave birth, went back to work, all while supporting myself, my child, paying for a health insurance, getting everything for the baby and not being able to afford to go on a vacation.

    I would have LOVED to get PAID for 2 years while sitting on my butt and taking care of my child.

    Really, its like that with everything. There are those who are taking responsibility for their lives and DOING something about the situation that they are in and keeping a positive attitude. And then there are those who just sit, whine, complain, send out a gazillion of resumes out every day and expect everyone else to feel sorry for them and take care of them.

    If I loose my job, I will not expect to be paid for relocation, I will suffer being away from family, just to support myself and my kid, I will do everything possible to make a living and support my family.

    To the guy who’s working at 15/hour picking weeds, you should be proud of yourself. You have a job, that you do, honestly, and able to provide, at least a little bit, for your family. And don’t pay attention to some kids walking by. I know its hard to hear something like that, but you know that they have no basis to make such judgments. Plus, you don’t know how they would fare faced with similar difficulties.

    Yes, lifestyles need to be adjusted and scaled. Yes, needy teenagers need to be said NO to. Yes, unemployment and recession has and is and will continue to take its toll on humans lives and families. Yes, the wall street types need to pay for what they did. Yes, its unfair that companies got bailed out and regular people didn’t.

    But then again, “god give me the serenity to change the things that I can, grace to accept the things that I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference”.
    (paraphrasing)

    Oh, and my ex’s answer to getting a 10/hr job – “why? Unemployment pays me the same and I don’t have to do anything!”

    Good luck to all those who are looking for a job.
    Take personal responsibility, seek comfort in friends and family and fellow unemployed, look on the bright side of life – you could be living in Congo and be a woman. http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/08/helping-women-in-congo
    Things could always be worse than they are now, so don’t despair and keep your head up! :)
    I know it sucks, but this too, shall pass. And things will get better if you work on making them better.

    America is a country of opportunity and is a place where hard work always pays off. Thousands of immigrants from places where its a lot worse, are still trying to come here and build a life.

    We should all be proud of our country and its resilient, hard working, honest people! Who make this country a great place to live.

  • http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9142163/H_1B_visa_use_by_U.S._firms_holds_steady_in_09 Kash Hoffa

    In case anyone needs anything else to be miserable about, read this article

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9142163/H_1B_visa_use_by_U.S._firms_holds_steady_in_09

    Note that Microsoft, Intel, and IBM rank #2, #3, and #4 respectively for number of H-1B visas. In effect, this says that these 3 companies were unable (or unwilling) to find ~2800 employees from a pool of 15 million unemployed.

    Note also that Wipro, #1 on the list effectively serves as an H-1B pipeline, period.

    How much longer till people stop patronizing these companies for products and services?

  • Ann

    Capitalism! THIS is what it does!

    Black labor was exploited not only during slavery, but during the almost-full-century-long period of Jim Crow. Having built most of the country (literally: the wealth of the country was built by slave labor, see Brown University’s Slavery & Justice Report), African-Americans have the highest rates of unemployment, of incarceration (for similar crimes as those of whites!), the worst health outcomes. After the Civil Rights acts unfortunately signalled to America’s powerful Capitalists that this race-based form of exploitation might not be available to them far into the future, they finally let women into the work force in ways and areas that had been closed off to them for so long. Meanwhile, jobs from industrial New England had been going South to North Carolina, but, eventually, even those lower wages weren’t good enough for the Capitalists. NAFTA had jobs going to Central & South America. Eventually, teenagers were working jobs that had been held by male heads-of-household thru the late 1970′s, and the trajectory of jobs offshore included job loss to Southeast Asia, etc., then to India, China. The jobs kept going away, following the lowest wages.

    Meanwhile, the way that the health of the economy of the U.S. is measured is NUTS! Basically, even now, the news that the economy is going UP has to do with the Financial Economy — the economy where money makes more money than labor does. Those “creative instruments” that economists talk about? Two, as we learned, were the ones where financial companies BET that a company’s stock will go up, and at the same time, in another “instrument”, they BET that the company’s stock will go down! They win no matter which way it goes! AND, nothing gets MADE! No company gets new equipment for a new idea or product; no company gets money to fix old equipment; no company gets money to train workers. In school, we learned that the financial world meant wise investors helping the little guy with a great idea but with empty pockets. Hah! Consider that to be mis-schooling (by the folks in Texas who determine most of the content of our K-12 textbooks nationwide. Texas. Oil money. Texas. Bush family. Texas Republicanism. What did I just hear about Texas & its poor the other day? Perhaps it has the largest percentage of poor of any state? Not sure. Maybe you folks heard about it. A significant fact about Texas & why we might not want it to have so much power over us!)

    Meanwhile, with whatever money they have, or BORROW, individuals spend money on college and trade schools to try to prepare themselves to be good candidates & workers in jobs that then go overseas!!!!

    When will we see that Pure Capitalism is Pure Evil!!! And, when will we see that the part of our economy that is Impure Capitalism is Socialism for major corporations and for the rich!!

    Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” explains how many deals, bribes, land grabs, militia forces, etc. allowed the Capitalists to do their thing in America while Native Americans were killed and forced off their lands (even agreed-upon deals very often included cheating by the Euro-Americans), while Slavery prevailed, and while, later, exploitation of workers continued with militia assistance when the workers rose up in protest. We have been given such a rosy, false picture of U.S. history, as if we were all independent, yeomen farmers — small, independent Capitalists — that we don’t KNOW the options we should consider to get the fairness that a true democracy would entail. And, I don’t mean revolution. That would only be self-defeating.

    Capitalism on one side. Totalitarianism (in many forms) on another side. Some European countries, especially the Scandinavian countries, have tried a middle way. We are living with a middle way, but it favors the Corporations, not the people; meanwhile, we live under a kind of Corporate Totalitarianism! And, we are perpetually sold a Bill of Goods that is false and self-serving for the rich and powerful! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, read Howard Zinn’s People’s History! If your family has been in the U.S. for awhile, you will read of the REAL contribution your ancestors made in our struggle for a true democracy.

    And, please try to think about and write about middle ways! The polarity between Democrats and Republicans that we are now stuck in does not serve The People, and neither side has got the people’s business as their main concern. Until there is MAJOR campaign finance reform, both Dems and Repubs will be beholden to huge and wealthy and corporate wills, because the corporations, apparently, contribute to BOTH sides! So, BOTH sides of the aisle are beholden to the corporations!

    Worry about Big Government? You should work for a Government big enough , and FREE ENOUGH to fight FOR THE PEOPLE against willful, greedy Corporate Will!
    You wonder why there are no jobs? Corporations didn’t have anybody left in America whom they could exploit at the low levels they want to, so they went “off shore”. I believe it is the corporate and free-market types who stop immigration legislation, as well, because, right now, they much prefer to exploit a desperate worker from Mexico who is not going to squeal when he is exploited or treated poorly — roughly, even.

    A pure free market searches for the lowest wages. We need to know what we are up against when we proudly proclaim ourselves “Capitalists”. No pure system (of any kind) is without its faults. It is our responsibility to ourselves to work for changes to any system that exploits us. (Africans & African-Americans fought against the injustice meted out to them from the very beginning.) Trouble is, right now, the people doing the work are working to make Capitalism more profitable for themselves and for their limited number of shareholders. I believe we should work to make Capitalism more equitable for all of us. Socialism does NOT have the corner on being fair; Capitalism could be slanted toward favoring the many over the few. THAT is where I believe the work is; but we must KNOW the systems we are talking about changing to change them. We must know our options (& again, I do not mean revolution or pure Socialism)!

  • AKILEZ

    There tons of countries in the world that their Citizens doesn’t make a lot of money but the people are happy.

    If only Education is cheaper or Free in America. I think getting paid less is not a big problem. compared to paying for education and expect to get paid higher salary to pay off that education.

    America is the culture of Capitalism we will never be content with low pay.

  • Gwendolyn

    I think a few folks have touched on an interesting dilemma for us “over 50s”. If you made a decent wage before you were terminated/laid off finding another job in this market that will match that wage is fairly impossible. And, if you are willing to take, let’s say, a 20 – 30% pay cut to get a job, you are viewed as someone who will jump ship once a better paying job comes along. I’m pretty confident that a better paying job will NOT come along but I haven’t been able to convince the interviewer/head hunters. I’ve even been advised to adjust my resume to remove the dates from my educational background and only reflect the past ten years of work experience. That means cutting 10+ years off my resume.

    I won’t even begin on the personal destruction unemployment has caused to my psyche. After many years, I was laid off in the spring of 2009. I was lucky enough to get a job a few months later through a connection. That lasted about a year and is another story too painful to recount. I now have constant anxiety, can’t sleep at night, and spend much of my time reexamining our household expenses and potential income for a potential way to make it without selling the house. I guess we’re lucky, my husband is employed. But, I have two teenagers entering into college within the next 2 – 5 years. Ugh.

  • Maria Baldwin

    I heard only the first few minutes of your program this morning, including the 40 year old caller (Nathan?) who said he was “frankly tired of the whining.” I felt you were dismissive of his remarks. In the last recession, my late husband went through financial collapse, bankruptcy, and the loss of two homes. He worked hard to recover, and did, but never earned back the kind of wealth he’d lost. We struggled, we downsized, we adapted, we did what had to be done to survive. Was it stressful? Hell, yes. And whining about it didn’t help. I’m with your caller. Suck it up, America. The American Dream is just that. A dream. It’s time to wake up.
    (Please withhold my name.)

  • Maria Baldwin

    Ooops. Too late to withhold the name, but I stand by my remarks. I’m now a widow of three years and my income, since my husband’s death, is literally one third of what I was accustomed to. Again. We adapt. We survive.

  • Gwendolyn

    Maria,

    You are strong, courageous woman and I’m sorry for your loss. I respectfully suggest that those of us who have worked our entire lives (including you) and are desperately seeking employment are not whining. We’re scared shi*less that we’ll lose everything – some of us have. I will be happy to put up with the whining if it helps someone alleviate some of the pain and permanent damage this economy has wrecked on us. We’re all adapting, some of us need to vent to get through it.

  • AKILEZ

    If poor people can survive without any whining.

    How come we can’t be like those people?

  • Larry

    We aren’t whining.

    We are demanding work.

    We are demanding that our government provide jobs.

    We are demanding that our government get the trillions back that they gave to the banks.

    We are demanding justice.

  • Laura McLean

    I take issue with something I just heard Rina say: that over the long term people tend to find their balance.

    I’m 46, a full time worker since the age of 15. Used to earn a good living. Laid off in July 2008, so I am a 99er.

    Short term: unemployment insurance and uncertainty, loneliness and boredom, general ennui as I searched among too few jobs and got no response from employers.

    I have officially arrived at long term, and am taking anti-anxiety meds to manage panic attacks. I do not know how we will hold on to our home. We have used 401k and credit cards to the limit. I am frankly terrified, to the point of nearly being incapacitated.

    Long term sucks, and telling me to “stay active” is not helpful.

  • PoorBoy

    This is a huge topic, it deserves more than one hour. I hope you will return to it. More about the safety net: The limit is now 99 weeks. Seems arbitrary but Congress is making a federal commitment to pay the bill now so they get to decide.
    I wonder why participation in unemployment insurance is relevant to your eligibility to make a claim after 26 weeks if you are looking for work? I think the deal was for 26 weeks of benefits. After collecting unemployment compensation for the full amount of the benefit one person is entitled to claim, why is this person more entitled to continued assistance than someone who is searching for work without any benefits or assistance? In other words, what about me? I’ve heard people in their 2nd year of benefits say “I paid for it, I’m entitled.” I disagree. You paid, but you didn’t pay for this.
    How nice it would have been to go back to school with my savings instead of draining accounts and cashing out Roth iras to keep my bills paid. I gambled and lost. But I was betting on a 26 week benefit, not a 99 week windfall.
    There are many self employed out there. I was self employed for over a decade prior to this recession averaging 15-20 per hour. I chose to purchase health insurance instead of unemployment insurance. (The tax code encouraged me to do so because self employed can take a deduction on the cost of health insurance.)Why am I less eligible for benefits beyond 26 weeks than anyone else?
    By the way,
    In my case my so called “client” (employer) used our “contract” (a condition of my employment)to exempt himself from any overhead like unemployment insurance or other tax liability. Likewise he could bill his clients 4x what he paid me for my time and remain competitive. I fully support an end to his “Bush Tax Cut”

  • Lon C Ponschock

    If nothing else these comments have expressed articulately and emotionally the problems being faced.

    The comment: Posted by Richard Levins, on August 9th, 2010 at 11:32 AM is particularly well-taken. And Ted Rall writing in the Progressive Populist introduced the apt phrase for lack of action in this continuing decline: he refers to the psychological tenet of learned helplessness.

    I do not have the proverbial magic wand (the one that shrinks like to pull out of their desks to confound the patient) either. But local action– ‘action drives out fear’ as one of the writers here said– local action no matter how small can reduce that helpless feeling.

    And I recall another phrase from a piece of poetry for which I had lost the reference but remember the line:

    “I did not know who my neighbor was until I met him in the street.”

  • Larry

    http://www.myvisajobs.com/Top_Visa_Sponsors.aspx

    Go look what companies are happy to let Americans starve in the streets so they can pay a foreigner less money.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    @Larry and others,

    Continuing with the learned helpless notion what the usual NPR/On Point reader has said here is that they have played the game, invested in the education for managerial and professional jobs. Now that they have been turned out they are looking– sometimes for long periods of time– for that fresh chair next to the water cooler.

    Mr. professional manager or lawyer now out of a job and now spending your time here at On Point: Please consider that if you were one of those trying to squeeze the last drop of efficiency out of those in your care or employ, what sympathy should the likes of those may feel for you? Understand that before the problem can be solved, the problem has to be understood.

  • AKILEZ

    How come Illegal Immigrants can find jobs?

    Those jobs that Americans DON’T WANT TO DO.

    There are jobs out there just don’t be picky.

    If you’re a manager before or a VP and can’t find a job.
    Well, Swallow your pride and apply for those jobs that Americans don’t like.

  • AKILEZ

    My friend has been out work for 3 years now and right across his Apartment is a sign HELP WANTED.

    He doesn’t want to apply for the job because he said I am college graduate. I told him if he is like that NO ONE WILL EVER HIRE HIM.

    Because the Employer will ask How come you never had a job for 3 years, did you tried applying at Mcdonald’s or Store 24? if you answer No because those jobs are for sissy.

    Well, They will never hire you because they think the same what I am thinking.

    Arrogant and Lazy!!!

  • Joseph

    One of the callers talked about the fact that this really started in 2001 – that’s when I lost my last corporate job, and while those days may look good in retrospect, hiring in the tech/communications area in that period was basically non-existent. I decided to spend the time working on my own, rather than on what would seem to be a fruitless job hunt.
    So I am what is classified as “reluctant entrepreneur”, scraping by, but certainly not getting ahead (and in fact, still falling behind). So while it may be an opportunity to “reinvent” ourselves, I am sure many in my position are not building up reserves in retirement account, meaning that unless we find jobs (and as we have always known, not likely in your fifties or even older), it looks like another tidal wave of financial uncertainty coming along.
    The only remotely bright spot I see is that since none of the “experts” seemed to predict the downfall, I am sure they will be taken unawares of future developments that may improve the situation (perhaps our Asian bondholders will indulge in tourism here, helping the balance of payments).

  • Philip Kaveny

    I was unemployed from June 1967 when I left graduate school at UW Madison until I was hired as a Civil Service Janitor in August 1970. During the time I had 104 professional interviews, and nearly that many for non professional position. I had a disability both learning and I was overweight, and I can tel that period of my life was like the floor of hell. I was either unrepresentable or over qualified , and all I could do was causal labor, I never used drugs but drank very heavily, had low self esteem and was ridiculed and at the same helped by family.I was hired as a Civil Service Janitor in 1970 and I never let go of the Job. I quit drinking shortly after I was hire and stayed sober ever since. I retired with thirty years service in 2000 Now I have my own business, have a book coming out and am married to a professor. My heart reaches out to the 99ers. This is a great program and my heart reaches out to the 99ers. I am married and have a full life a good income because somebody gave me a chance. We must give these people a chance. I met my wife while working as a Janitor at UW Madison she is now a full professor where we live. And help me get two more degrees

  • jeffe

    I find the people who are posting and telling people to stop complaining or winning are being a bit disingenuous.
    If you are one of them and have a job and are under 45, wait, your time will come. I hope you remember the lack of compassion and understanding as you stand in your hovel trying to figure out what just happened.

    The other thing is right now there are about 5 to 6 people looking for every job available. Which means that for every person being hired 4 to 5 are not. There is also the problem that a lot of companies will not hire the unemployed. So my question for all you employed libertarians is, if the math is not adding up what are people supposed to do? If you’re broke you do not have the capital to start new business and anyway over 50% fail in a good economic climate so starting one now is very, very risky.

    To the Sam’s of the world people have different issues and problems. Those of us over 50 who do find themselves unemployed, well unless you have a lot saved up and I mean a lot, you are going to go broke eventually.

    This country hates losers and this goes back to the puritan religious crap. This is why you have people saying things like “stop winning you losers!” Or “take personal responsibility” as if it was your fault that someone decided to fire 200 people one day. This is what makes our country seem like such a cesspit sometimes. We give billions in aid to foreign countries for people who are poor and yet when it comes to our own citizens people tell them your a loser. Stop winning and so on.

    I have thought about this as I’m working part time and am having trouble finding full time work. For the unemployed the job search becomes the job. However doing a few hours a week of volunteering will help with your self esteem and it makes you feel good. Which is good for the depression that one can develop when you are laid off. At least it gets you out of the house.

  • jeffe

    On more thing that was not even discussed on today’s show.
    That the jobs situation is getting worse as corporate profits keep rising. And they are rising at record rates.
    Corporations are sitting on piles of money, wall street is back to their same old dirty tricks and the rest of us are sitting here trying to figure out how to make ends meet on 25K or less a year.

    Something really stinks here, and it’s not my dog.

  • Bush’s fault

    Wow…some of you are real lightning rods for tragedy. My prayers go out to you. As I’ve said, we’re going through the market adjustment for a post WW2 lifestyle financed by the poor of the world…we have the sense that if we studied hard, worked hard, the material rewards would be ours for everlasting.

    BUT, as others have pointed out today, life is not fair and the American dream is just that…suck it up. For me this is an old story going back 20+ years when I was out of work from manufacturing at 40 with two babies to raise. We made it through..with wit, cunning and by reinventing ourselves. It can be done, but you can never look back once you decide to get through your mourning for the old days.

    And now I have to adjust again since I can’t retire at 65 until my holdings regain some value…so be it. It could be worse..it could be raining.

  • Joyce W

    When corporations began to dessert the Americans who built their wealth during the 1970′s millions of Americans in the Northeast lost everything: pensions, homes, cars, kids college funds, spouses, and their dignity. Most of the unemployed were men in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. Many were third and fourth generation-employees of the company. For black workers, usually laid off first, it was their first “secure” job.

    I worked at the Bureau of Employment Services in the Unemployment Division during three recession in the 70′s. It took decades of this selfish, unpatriotic behavior on the part of corporations, behavior rewarded by decades of government welfare to the wealthy.

    It has become legalized theft. Republic economist-author Kevin Phillips wrote “The Politics of Rich and Poor:the Disappearing Middle Class” 20 years ago.
    The middle class has been “disappeared.” It’s been a policy based upon unchecked greed.

    This recession will not go away because the foundation of our economy, the working, creating, producing middle class has been undermined.

  • Bill5

    My heart goes out to those who are unemployed and trying to make ends meet on minimal (or no) UI while trying to get a job. Not to minimize the seriousness of this, I do have a thought that may warrant further thought & development.
    Perhaps some (or most) of the money available in the financial industry that is continuing to be paid towards obscene bonuses should be used to help fund the UI money pool- at least the bonuses to those who contributed significantly to the calamity we’re in. This should satisfy the Republicans since it would not “contribute to the deficit”!! It’s very difficult to get accurate numbers, but the following analysis will illustrate the point (please don’t get hung up by the numbers used here). Assuming the “bonus” pool is $50 billion/yr (I assume 1/3rd of the total compensation by the 6 biggest banks- of $150 billion- are bonuses): see
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/want-to-protest-wall-streets-bonus-bonanza-good-luck/19318252/
    and assuming the UI payments are $300 billion/yr (14.5M x an average of $20,000/person- my estimates), this would represent about a 17.% savings in the cost of UI payments- a significant help in containing the deficit, or reducing the $ taken from TARP. Alternatively, if this is added to the UI pool, the pool could be increased by 17% at no increase in present cost. The “average” benefit increase to EACH unemployed person would be $3,450/yr ($66/wk). I’m sure this would substantially help many of the unemployed- at the expense of the relatively few who significantly contributed to the unemployment situation. Again, the actual numbers are probably not correct- it’s the concept I’m trying to convey.
    I’m sure the senior management and Board of Directors of these firms would be very happy to take such actions in order to improve and help stabilize the economy, provide stimulus money to consumers to provide demand for their products & services, as well as from new small businesses, etc. It would even help to make sure they don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs for them.
    Better yet, maybe they should fire the financial people that exhibited such poor judgment in the first place that almost drove their firms out of business, rather than continue to employ them, and not pay bonuses to their replacements. I bet there would be a long line of young people willing to take the opportunity without such ridiculous pay (competition). Although the firms will claim they have to pay top $ to “get & keep the best”, the “best” they have now is not what is needed. As a very small shareholder in some of these companies, they didn’t do me any favors- fortunately I diversified and so my losses were not that serious. So much for corporate responsibility to their shareholders (the large shareholders should be demanding a change in the Boards of Directors for hiring such incompetent and irresponsible management). Even better yet, demand new Board Directors.

  • jeffe

    Bush’s fault, suck it up you say. Suck it up.
    Well that’s just my point, people are sick and tired of doing just that. Period. I’m sick of sucking it up while wall street makes billions off of my tax dollars. I’m sick of sucking it up while CEO’s make 300 to 500 times what the lowest wage earner in their corporation makes.
    I’m sick of sucking it while special interest rules the day and controls the out come of elections and basically runs our country. I’m sick of sucking it up while every other industrial country has decent health care and we don’t. I’m sick of sucking it while our government waste billions and billions of dollars on useless wars while we need the money here. I’m sick of sucking it while government is nothing more than a dysfunctional tool of corporate greed and is more interested in keeping power than what is good for the nation.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Writers like Mari, Ann, Larry and also jeffe; thanks for fighting the honest compassionate battle on this page. I have become an amateur videographer since losing my career. I would be interested in interviewing you articulate writers and letting you collaborate in my work. Even a recorded phone interview could help. If interested email me at beretco.op@hotmail.com. I have no grants yet so money is tight. My wife is helping finance my documentary, but I know the subject having been unemployed for as much as 5 years. Please email and talk up organizing and supporting one another. Our country could be a much better place if capitalist ideology were softened. You fearful fascist gung-ho start from scratch boys please lighten up and think a minute, that someday you’ll be 50 and dumped by the boss you lick up to today. Does anyone mourn with me the loss of lukewarm Bill Moyers Journal. Now that was a viewers’ blog!

  • Jim

    i feel bad about the unemployed. no one should deserve to be denied a job. i do like to make one comment i feel strongly about, ie. americans voters were partially blame for this recession. and this wave of non-sense continues with the fake patriotism and dangerous movement of the tea-party, better known as the neo-cons disguised in sheep skin.

  • AKILEZ

    Philip Kaveny – You Are A True American Dream

  • Jim in Omaha

    The average U.S. household has net assets of over $500,000($55 trillion in total nationwide net assets and 100 million households). So all these unemployed average Americans should be able to tap into their resources and make do until something comes along. Oh, you don’t have over half a million in assets to tide you over? I wonder who has your share.

  • http://www.velocity-ad.com Nathan Atkins

    I am reading the posts above and it makes me sad. I have been unemployed since Dec 09 and have had little success securing a job equal to my old job. Due to high overhead taking a job that pays significantly less is futile.

    However, we all need to understand that the system has always been this way and we have contributed to it. We all did little to nothing when CEO’s started making 10X, 20X, 40X, 80X, 150X, 400X the average worker. At each step of the increase we kept our heads down and did nothing about it.

    We were all comfortable in our bigger homes, newer cars, and annual (sometimes bi-annual) nice vacations to recognize that eventually the haves would have to delete more and more of us to continue to make this type of money. Remember the pie is finite!

    Also we have let our public servants for years work as personal servants (to themselves, family, friends and money interest) and again we have said or done nothing.

    Now we are in a situation where a revolution is inevitable but personally I think we are all to mentally beat down to fight back. So, remember these words:
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. — Thomas Jefferson

    We have to come together for the common good and reestablish order. I begrudge no person success but excess at the expense of the majority is a detriment to our society as whole.

    So, find your passion. Choose your cause and impact a change in our society. Believing that getting your old income back and going back to what you once did or knew will make everything alright is an incorrect assumption.

    I understand like the next person the cost of food, shelter, etc but we have to impact change or we are doomed to this fate and maybe worse.

  • PaulW

    Lost my job December 2008, had temporary part-time jobs including a too-brief stint with the US Census, but am seriously unemployed at the moment.

    I’ve become a financial burden on my family, unable to pay my mortgage on my own, and competing in a job market with 12-15 percent unemployment depending on the week. I’ve job interviewed for three full-time jobs in the past 18 months, and where they say it’s 6 people per 1 opening I swear it feels like 20 per 1.

    And I was coping with depression BEFORE the job loss.

  • Samuel Angol

    I really enjoyed last night’s episode. I especially liked that 40-year old caller who thought that there was way too much gloom and doom out there, and that people should “suck it up and reinvent themselves”. I’m part of the millennial generation, and I’ve known for sometime now that if I am to achieve a semblance of material success and financial independence I will have to be a lifelong learner and entrepreneur. I guess for older folks whose expertise lies in a particular field it can be a case of trying to teach an old dogs new tricks…

  • Gary

    The guy named Larry is your classical whiner period, wants to seemingly do nothing but put the blame on this group or that group, etc.

    For all its drawbacks, and there are many, capitalism remains the best means for an economy to flourish best as possible. Are their manipulators, takers, swindlers, corrupt politicians, lobbyists, officials, you betcha, and since we’ve all known that from the start, its up to you to craft your own plan to minimize their impact period.

    That means adapting, learning, constantly, not going on auto pilot after college, or just working for a company. If you aren’t moving forward always you will be roadkill. Depending on a company to keep you employed is futile and a waste a time.

    Just for the record, I have been laid off 3x in my career, each time unexpected, at the end of technology cycles here in the northeast, I’ve known lean times, and early on it taught me a lesson to stay ahead of the pack, to focus and plan my own future, and it took moving and living in places I hated, but I did what I did to have my own exit strategy by the time I was 40, since you are only a marked man or woman after 40 nomatter what anyone tells you, you are nothing but a liability after 40.

    I tell people all the time, you need to be in your own business by the time you are 40, if you aren’t by then you live life at your own risk period. The internet is here, it was supposed to free us from the cubicle, so we can take advantage of a global market. Sitting around and whining and waiting for your jobs to come back is futile, they are never coming back.

    So Larry, stop blaming everyone, blame yourself for not doing anything about your situation when you already knew all along you were letting others control your life. There are all kinds of ways to reinvent yourself.

    Oh, and one other thing, the internet is going to change everything now when it comes to politics, but only remember that the government folks are not visionaries, or leaders, they are just soothsaying administrators, some better than others, but none of them really have a sense of where to steer this country, most of them are just doing what they can do stick their fingers in the leaking holes in the dike, thats it.

    So time to move on folks, and fast, as we are not just in the “Great Recession”, its more like the “Great Transition”, and its not going to be pretty for everyone, but opportunity will always be there for those that really want it.

  • jeffe

    Gee Gary it’s kind of funny how you put all your eggs in one basket. The internet does not really make that much money if you don’t have anything to sell.

    Whatever Larry’s short comings are and I might add mine into the mix, what you are advocating is absurd.
    Think long and hard before you respond and look at the statistics of the self employed business person.
    Half fail in the first 3 years. Half Gary, is this your grand idea.

    This whole exercise is so pathetic really. Some people are telling people to be self employed while others are putting the blame on people who have lost there jobs.
    If a person is an engineer and has done this gig for over 20 years and then through no fault of their own is laid off all you have for them is get your own business together? Pathetic, I mean that’s a real non starter considering this is the worse economy to do what you are advocating. Wake up, small businesses have been failing in this recession at an alarming rate. The ones that are doing well can’t get the capital to expand or retool because the banks are not lending. Wake up!

  • Sam Wilson

    Gary,
    Please advice, how one can sell things on Internet or start his or her own business if he/she is a scientist or a software programmer or a teacher?

    Even a hint would be fine, but for goodness sake dont just put the blame on people who have worked hard all their lives and in some cases smarter and harder.

  • Gary

    I wish this kind of show could put someone on like me that could actually put things in real perspective, rather than all the fluff discussion that some of these “shows” dance around. But I get that its a show, entertainment of sorts, we just have to recognize what it is and thats it.

    The fact is there are always consequences to picking any career track, or where you live, how much you spend, and who is coming up on your rear view mirror to replace you. No one said it was going to be fun, nor a guarantee, nomatter what your course of study has been in the past, thats just the way it is.

    I’ve already had to change career tracks 6 times, over 11 companies, when neither did I want to, or when I thought it was fair, or the least bit interesting. Over time though, and when 911 hit, I lost a childhood friend in that and then was out of startup telecom job in 3 months, when the bubble really burst, so I know all about all of a sudden being out of a career despite my background, and that job or related jobs I did prior, were coming back. The only thing that is certain is change, and the more you get over that whatever life you had is not coming back, the faster you will begin to move forward.

    Sure, it was not easy, it just gets easier. I had my moments of doubt, depression, etc, but everytime life was happening to me while I was making other plans, I never ruled out any possibilities, since the aspect of “having a career” is some kind of unique later 20th century concept that has only existed for a nanosecond in civilization. Its always been about “earning a living”, the idea of a “career” is really only an idea of the last few decades really, as long as economies are flourishing that kind of thing happens only a little longer than usual, its no big secret.

    Sure, some get lucky, but for the most of us who have to survive through cycles, bubbles, infrastructure development, if we’re not looking and/or reinventing for the next thing, and constantly educating ourselves, we will be roadkill at some point, seen it happen hundreds of times. People refuse to accept the reality of life, get complacent, get out of shape, stop educating themselves, keep buying things they can’t afford, and save next to nothing in the bank saved for when life happens.

    My point is most people, despite prior having a reliable or rather stable work life, have also very likely made a long string of frankly bad decisions in life, no safety net, and therefore have left themselves to being fully vulnerable to all the vultures and educated that know exactly how to suck every last dollar out of you, and boy they know how to do that, and they think about that constantly. You would think most of us would not to be part of that rat hole, but most of us just remain, so we reap what we sow.

    Sure, Larry means well, or thinks he does, but all he can do is point the finger and inflame. Just 20 minutes though with him one on one with me and I’d figure out where he could of and should of made other value add decisions, and still could now. But, I know, life is complicated, but far as I see it, if you have your health, you have few excuses.

    Also, I never ever put my eggs in one basket, the strategic minded never do,and thats what we are talking about now, life strategy. Those of us that are doing so are constantly evaluating options and risks, just like our immigrant ancestors, who came here without anything, so until we get out of the entitlement mindset and yearning for the past good years to come back, we aren’t going to get anywhere. Don’t put your faith in the government either, there just isn’t enough time for some kind of massive WPA program to come back in order to try and just preserve some semblance of the life you once had.

    In terms of the internet question, its not like it just snuck up on us last year, its been alive for almost 20 years now, and for at least the last 10 years, which is more than enough time to figure out where to carve out what you can leverage it, enable yourself from it, and while times were good, when you could afford to pay for the classes that would enable you to tap into what it offered. A degree or two didn’t entitle us to a career, the only true thing education teaches you really is how to think, how to be resourceful, how to organize alot of information, etc. In the end it doesn’t matter the content, all that matters is that you have retained the tools, and the means to reuse those tools you developed in any way you can in the future.

    Next, the very minute NAFTA happened in this country years ago, for those paying attention, it meant as it had been expressed by many over the past 30 years that the US was going to eventually and soon turn into an “information economy”, it was no big secret, business leaders and visionaries gave us alot of insight of where things were going. So, if you di next to nothing “strategically, to remain relevant, to get out of the jobs moving overseas and such, and just went on autopilot, or into denial, you just kept digging yourself a bigger hole, stayed in a career or job too long, or overbought in a house, lived well beyond your means instead of well below, well then here you are.

    Regardless though, opportunity exists everywhere, but you may have to move, or get involved in alot of community activities, weekends, evenings, to spot where those opportunities are, and who is doing what. I’m not advocating getting into Amway or MLM, or reselling warehouse products on Ebay, I’m saying go and find something unique that appeals to you, that you can do, and do it different, at the highest quality or service possible.

    So, make your short list, identify where the money is, where its moving, and drill down into the various options that may present an income stream. That may mean performing a pie chart of different things, making things, working part time here, odd jobs there, etc. The main thing is you need to be out there and accessible, and asking and contributing. You have to go out there and go after your life, it isn’t going to come to you, and if you are just taking in a check instead, you are going to go deeper and deeper into an emotional rathole that will disable you probably permanently. So like our immigrant ancestors did, who did what they did to survive, we now have our own version of it, so its our own variation on that them, so we all have to be in survival mode now to make it. With that mindset and approach you stand to prosper alot if times improve at best, but at least make it should things turn likely worse.

    Keep in mind here, without any new “big thing”, no major infrastructure investment going on, and I’m not talking about short term government paid road and bridge projects here, things will not only stay the same, but will likely continue to decay, and if you are just wallowing around in that mode you will also decay with it. Most of us have ridden of the coattails of infrastructure development, thinking it would last forever, but it only lasts as long as the project does. It happened with railroads, telephones, radio, TV, computers, and lastly the internet.

    The only thing thats left ahead, is that we need alot more energy for the future population forecasted, and its not going to happen with oil that we are running out of or that puts us into precarious expensive military postures long long term. So what we desperately need, is to get off oil, particularly mideast oil. So, in terms of opportunity, anything you can do in your pie chart of activities going forward here, to pay attention to that, and I’m not talking about going all “Greenpeace” either, is to act and pursue this area of interest as an entrepreneur would, learn all you can about solar, wind, geothermal, battery technology, etc etc. If anything you learn who is doing what, and you might get the signal when to make a little extra money by investing in the right players’ stock who are posed to do well as we progress into the green energy driven “Great Transition”.

    Its going to happen folks, its happening in spots, but its stumbling as money is tight. Last week for instance I drove by a new WalMart and every parking lot light post was fitted with a wind turbine on top. Eventually that means Walmart will likely offer “free charging” for electric car customers, and a wave of others will likely follow, along with a whole new way of doing things, which we can all feel a hell of alot better about in the scheme of things, things that allow for our children to not having to our bidding overseas so we can all drive SUVs and power up our littany of gadgets in the house.

    Just as a disclaimer here too, let me assure everyone I walk the walk here everyday. I was once a Director at a severall major “whos who” Telecom companies, and a senior manager and engineer several times over, well over six figure positions. I live in an expensive community still, and want to remain as my elderly parents live nearby. So, today, 7 years on after the bubble burst here in the Boston area, I now do a half dozen things to earn money, I am a craftsman making restoration quality vintage car parts, I carve/cast my own artwork and resell to local craft shops, garden centers, ebay, craigslist, I resell or flip various antiques I find at auctions, yard sales, flip collectible vintage cars when I spot a good deal, I watch and trade stocks like Apple for instance, along with anyone else that shows they have the legs to grow, plus I also teach guitar 1-2 evenings per week.

    Sure, I don’t make what I used to, and I do have to take care of myself to avoid any health mishaps best as possible, but I do well enough, and have spread my “eggs” into more than a few baskets so that I don’t have to worry much anymore, or worse yet blame anyone else. My family also understands the situation, the consequences, and they know I am working hard along with them, and we’ve cut unnecessary expenses that have bled us in the past, are down to one emergency cell phone, and have basic cable, but have broadband to ensure we can still be tapped into the internet.

    Those of you that have read this far probably already get it, or are starting to wake up. I don’t have all the answers for you, there is not enough time and space here to address every situation, all I can do is provide you with a flurry of hints and things I have done, have accepted, and how fast I am moving to survive, and prosper through some very uncertain times ahead.

    I do believe that anyone here that shows up on these boards has the ability to move forward, the sooner you shift your mindset and attitude, the sooner things will begin to change. Don’t rely on anyone else to find you or save you, you have to do it yourself folks, and I know you can do it, I am, and I’m really not that different than anyone else.

    That all said, I’m tired of this show bringing on “experts” and the educated disconnected, making folks feel that much worse, it just creates more anxiety, more confusion, more worry, it immobilizes people. How about some everyday folks that are making it, and going into detail as to “how”, how about a personal profile story per week on On Point. For as great as Tom is, and I really enjoy his programs, I also believe a program like this, especially with Tom at the helm, could really set a better example in going beyond just radio journalism, do something different that focuses on helping people put one foot in front of the other. We need programming in this capacity more than ever.

    Good luck out there folks!

  • CG

    Since Gary’s response is long:

    If you want to sell things on the internet and don’t have a programming degree go to Ebay, or Amazon for used books and CDs.

  • CG

    If you’re into making handmade items try selling on “Etsy” (or buying handmade items, they do have some beautiful stuff).

  • Rob

    I understand people might have profound disagreements regarding politics and government policy, but I would hope everyone has some level of compassion for people struggling with unemployment. While I agree with many of Gary’s comments above (other than his somewhat harsh direct words towards Larry, whom I do not know), I would add it is critical that people prepare for potential unemployment while employed. Some ways we can all do that are as follows:

    1)Focus on factors (and risks) over which we have control, rather than those factors outside our control. While I respect differences in political opinions, blaming our problems on Government leaders and making statements such as “eat the rich” are not constructive. Blaming problems on others might make a person feel better temporarily, but does nothing to improve your personal situation. My father taught me at an early age that Government is similar to luck. You need some of it in life, but only a fool would rely on it. A key is channeling this anger into something more productive.

    2)Regardless of our job/profession, everyone should commit to being a lifelong learner. This means learning new ways to do things as technology changes and staying on top of changes in our professions/ jobs. It also means consistently reevaluating where our careers are going and changing course as needed. I know plenty of 40 and 50 year olds who have changed careers and enjoyed their new careers after reaching age 50.

    3)Spend less and save more (e.g. especially when you are younger). I know far too many fake people who define financial success as driving that new expensive car (e.g. they lease and show of that Mercedes or BMW), or owning the largest home, etc… At a personal level, I temporarily made the mistake of falling into this “consumption happy trap” during my early mid 20s, but changed course after dot com bubble burst. I define financial goals based on savings with the goal of developing critical mass (meaning savings large enough that you can live off the interest/ return from your investments). Savings also prepares us better for unforeseen life events circumstances, such as losing our jobs. I know it might seem difficult, but most people should be able to save at least 10-15% of our salary when we are working. Previous generations of Americans managed to save more, even though they earned far less than most Americans today, even after adjusting for inflation.

    4)Turn a personal hobby into a part time consulting job (preferably while you are working). The statistics that Jeffe cited above regarding over 50% of new businesses failing are correct. I understand people might not have the capital/savings to start a business or may be risk averse as a result of personal life factors (e.g. young children, personality, etc…) . However, we all have hobbies and passions that we enjoy or do well where others will benefit from services we provide. There is no reason that people cannot turn this into some incremental income with minimal effort. As an example, Gary indicated that he teaches guitar lessons a couple of times a week. A personal passion of mine is competing in triathlons (including Ironman events). While this is not my full time (or even part time) career, I recently became a certified coach and earn some additional income through this personal hobby. Converting a hobby into incremental income does not require significant outlay of capital and can be source of income in the tragic event a person loses his or her own job (along with savings and unemployment insurance).

    Good luck everyone.

  • Peggy Harris

    The stress of the high and long-term unemployment today reminds me of my childhood. I was eight years old in 1929. My family owned three banks and put all of their money into trying to save these banks. When the banks closed, we went from affluence to poverty overnight. My father was unable to find a professional job and eventually took a job digging ditches. My brother and I joined our parents in their bedroom so that our bedrooms could be rented. During the past few years as I watched the U.S. economy fail, I decided to write a book about my experiences. The book, Growing Up in the Great Depression by Peggy Harris, is available at Amazon.com.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    It should be noted that people are not merely unable to find jobs or losing their jobs, but also that MANY PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR CAREERS AND THE VALUE OF THEIR COLLEGE EDUCATIONS.

    In other words, although you may have a Masters Degree in Field X, you could, for all intents and purposes, lose your degree because employers in Field X will never hire you. They will assume that because you have been unemployed or underemployed-and-out-of-field for so long that you cannot do the job in Field X or that you’re just a loser. So, people are also losing their educational investments.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    Note, of course, that most of this job market carnage has been brought to us by Global Labor Arbitrage–foreign outsourcing, H-1B and L-1 visas, and mass immigration (legal and illegal).

    Foreign outsourcing sends American jobs overseas, including high-falutin’ college-education-requiring knowledge-based jobs such as computer programming and even patent law. If we have a trade deficit of $500 billion/year, that means that our nation has lost 5 million $50,000/year jobs (assuming that every $2 of trade deficit would translate into $1 worth of American jobs).

    The H-1B and L-1 visas displace Americans, domestically, from often knowledge-based, college-education-requiring jobs–the ones Americans are supposed to retrain for.

    Then mass immigration–legal or illegal–displaces lower class Americans from poverty wage jobs and even good construction jobs while also depressing wages and increasing our nation’s population. (A higher population means more pollution and higher costs for resources such as land, timber, and fresh water). It also imposes huge costs on state governments since they have to deal with health care, education, housing, welfare, and criminal justice costs imposed by illegals. (They cannot possibly pay enough in taxes while working poverty wages to pay the expenses.)

    The other expense caused by Global Labor Arbitrage is the costs the government will spend on unemployment, food stamps, housing, health care, criminal justice costs, and other costs associated with caring for poor Americans. The costs and amounts of social strife are hard to measure.

    The only “good” news is that wealthy Americans are benefiting, which is why our politicians allow all of this to begin with. We need to vote all of our politicians out of office. We should also consider seizing their assets and exiling them. Then we need to recapture wealth that was stolen by the rich.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.w.ross.10 Robert W Ross

    i think she was sent from god my life has ben great since i joined dunville cristian chuch in dunville ky mr an miss terry are the best ecep wen thay want to suport folks in a forin land we got poor folks in liberty ky yes this is robert

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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