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The Long-Term Unemployed

Long-term unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression. How do people manage? Get by? Find a job? We ask.

In this photo taken Sept. 29, 2010, Sheila Portugal waits in line to meet with a recruiter while attending a job fair in Livonia, Mich. (AP)

Nearly 25 million Americans are now unemployed or under-employed and looking for jobs. Among the officially “unemployed,” 40 percent have been out of a job for six months or longer — and many much longer. These are the “long-term unemployed.” 

American long-term unemployment is now at levels not seen since the Great Depression. But the numbers are bloodless. The reality is brutally hard, on finances, on families, on self-confidence, and on resumes. 

Some fear they may never work again. What does that mean? We talk with the long-term unemployed.

-Tom Ashbrook

**If you are interested in getting in touch regarding this show or the guests featured in it, please email us at onpoint@wbur.org.

Guests:

John Ydstie, NPR correspondent and host who has reported on the U.S. economy for the past two decades. He played a big part in the recent NPR series: “The Skills Gap: Holding Back the Labor Market.”

Sheila Egan, pharmaceutical salesperson who has been out of work for more than a year. She’s a 47-year-old single mother who lives in Ohio. She was featured in the NPR series.

Michael Hall, a 50-year-old California systems engineer who worked with high-tech data and phone equipment. He has been out of work for two years now. You can see the NPR story featuring him here.

Matt Youngquist, employment counselor and coach who runs Career Horizons, in Bellevue, WA. He was featured in the NPR series. He’s coached more than 5,000 job seekers at all levels, from entry-level employees to  executives. See the NPR story that includes him.

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  • JP

    Here’s the REAL story behind unemployment and the debt:

    To date, Less than one year of Presdident Obama’s first budget has been in effect.

    Through 2009, our country was still operating under a Bush era budget.

    In addition, as bush left the yearly STRUTURAL deficit at 1.3 trillion, Obama has effectively not added a penny to that total.

    The roughly 400 billion of debt added in 2009/2010 that WAS NOT PART OF BUSH’S YEARLY 1.43 TRILLION LEGACY, was added by Obama, but as quite necessary stimulus… other than that, Obama actually REDUCED the Bush deficit despite reduced revenues!

    Here’s the math, figuring that Bush left the yearly deficit at 1.3 trillion per year:

    2009 = 1.43 trillion
    2010 = 1.2 trillion
    2009/2010 stimulus = .4 trillion

    total = 3 trillion added to debt since Bush left office

    …in addtiton, don’t forget that Bush was operating in times of terrific government revenues, AND STARTED WITH A BUDGETARY SURPLUS, NOT DEFICIT.

    President Obama has had to operate with record low government revenues, 2 wars that are now actually added ON THE BOOKS INSTEAD OF AS SUPPLEMENTALS, and an economy in dire need of help.

    Still, against all those odds, President Obama and the Dems have managed to get us back on the path to sustained job growth, AND we averted the next GREAT DEPRESSION that many were forecasting.

    Yet the sustained growth in employment under Obama has fallen short of keeping up with what’s needed… HERE’S WHY:

    Nearly all jobs created under Bush… The ones that had entirely disappeared by the end of Bush’s second term… all those jobs were paid for by illusionary wealth generated by debt (more precisely, borrowing), a ridiculously inflated stock market (far too many stocks trading at absurd earnings multiples), and as we now know, absurd increases in home prices.

    When the illusionary wealth evaporated before the end of the Bush presidency, the employment which barely kept up with population growth likewise evaporated.

    Now, no matter what policies President Obama implements, the one thing he cannot do, AND SHOULD INDEED NEVER DO, is to somehow return America to the policies that depended on illusionary wealth to generate jobs… that was Bush’s and the Republican’s lie, NOT Obama’s.

    Now the economy can’t generate enough jobs to catch back up to the population’s needs… Bush and the Republicans were content that all job growth for a decade be based on illusion, rather than having ever taken steps to create REAL productivity in America that could now be sustaining us.

    Instead of policies encouraging the growth of industry, Bush was happy that nearly all jobs be retail and service sector, supported by the illusionary balloon money.

    The money that was once in nearly every pocket in America is GONE, and NO ONE, including President Obama, can snap their fingers and bring back retail and service sector jobs when people don’t have money to throw around.

    All those “fake” jobs supported a so-called “healthy” economy for ten years, but they were bound eventually to evaporate into the ether from which they came.

    Now we’re stuck with the legacy of Bush’s and the Republican’s short-sightedness when THEY were in charge during the years America needed effective policies to encourage a more substantial employmnent base for Americans… years when jobs were being massively outsourced to developing countries.

    Bush and the Republicans, at the crucial moment, could have turned the tide for America, but instead they coddled and rewarded corporations who were searching for cheap labor abroad to amximize shareholder profits.

    With the Republicans, the wealthy investor class first always comes before the American worker.

  • jeffe

    The height of hypocrisy is how the Republicans can talk about keeping the Bush tax cuts and in the next sentence say there is no money to extend the benefits for the unemployed. The other thing, people who are unemployed are having trouble getting hired because companies are now saying they wont hire them. This nation is whacked.

  • JP

    One of the biggest horrors facing American workers is a bias against older employees.

    Companies get rid of them because they tend to be higher paid due to seniority, and all it takes is some new department head coming in, looking to cut corners.

    Since Republicans have all but completely destroyed unions, workers have no recourse to any new department head being brought in to reduce expenses and fire people, despite a worker giving decades of their life to a company and doing a damn good job.

    Once canned, older workers find they’re lucky to get a job bagging groceries at minimum wage.

    Meanwhile, politicians answer to fixing SS is to raise retirement age higher and higher… tell me then, who do they think is hiring older and older workers?

    What jobs do they think younger workers will find if older workers are kept in the work force when the country can’t even create enough jobs to keep up with population growth as is?

    Politicians have all the solutions, but no answers.

  • david Peterson

    Soon the unemployment benefits will stop for millions
    while the congress gets ready for more tax breaks for rich, the hubris of this age will end someday soon.
    Even NPR is filled with hedge fund shills on their board,no one seems to really understand the immense danger that is almost sure to play out in the US (think Wiemar 2), the elite think it will just be a few riots or a protest march or two. Oh god ! whats coming down the pike will be bizarre crazy violent mix, you be nostalgic for the riots of the sixties and the thirties, look out as they say its going to be a bumpy ride into the abyss of terrorism and poverty.
    Expect a third party demigod not Palin but someone akin
    to Stalin or Hitler except religious. After all this
    greed and waste, people will lose it support anyone will promises revenge and someone will fill the vacuum because the law of political physics never changes.

  • JP

    David,

    Actually, it sounds like Palin fits the bill perfectly for your nihilistic vision.

  • Brett

    I been waitin’ for one of them trickle down jobs since 1982…I’m still waitin’

  • twenty-niner

    “whats coming down the pike will be bizarre crazy violent mix, you be nostalgic for the riots of the sixties and the thirties, look out as they say its going to be a bumpy ride into the abyss of terrorism and poverty.”

    Riots!? From the same populace that lines up happily to get a nice dose of terahertz radiation and an atomic wedgie before flying to see grandma? Sorry, too many decades of drinking fluorinated water laden with endocrine disruptors have left Americans a docile, submissive herd of lambs, who can barely muster a “baah” over a 10-year illegal war, a second pointless war, and no-questions-asked banker bailouts.

    All the government has to do is show a picture of a scary man with a turban and invent a new threat color, and we’ll all be busy taping plastic over our windows and hiding under the coffee table.

    The formula is: keep printing money, delivering pizzas, and televising grown men slamming into each other on Sundays (and occasionally the scary man with the turban), and Americans will keep their large behinds firmly planted on their couches.

  • cory

    1. Twenty-Niner. You are an odd bird! Sometimes I agree with you and others I want to throw a cream pie at you. Today you are right on. I went though a recent bought of unemployment, but always had food and cable TV. I think the awakening of the masses won’t come until they are hungrier and more destitute.

    2. JP. Also right on. If all the people in this country who have seen their prospects erode over the last 30 years would vote in their best interest, the Republians couldn’t win. Problem is lots of us vote on emotion and for personality instead of using reason and facts. It is also our inability to delay gratification. Obama hasn’t fixed everything in 2 years? Well let’s throw the bums out!

    3. David. I agree that violence will come. The wealthy railing against taxes when millions are on the brink of losing everything makes my blood boil. Take my job, take my home, take my retirement, hurt my children and I may begin to contemplate hurting others. I can’t believe there aren’t many people who feel this way. With our government evolving into a corporatist plutocracy, violent upheaval may be the only available remedy for our grotesque class inequity. The only question left is how bad will things get before it happens?

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • cory

    I have a question for American conservatives who preach about individual responsibility and pulling yourselves up by your bootstraps. I will pose it as a multiple choice question.

    If we are in fact a marketplace with winners and losers, what fate should the ultimate losers in the game of capitalism face?

    a) They should keep struggling. The American Dream will lift up all those who keep struggling.

    b) I dunno and don’t care, just don’t raise my taxes. I am a self made individual with no responsibility for those around me.

    c) Create a safety net that establishes a minimum existence and basic dignity for all citizens. Beyond this requirement I am free to pursue wealth beyond all avarice.

    d) Beg, ride the rails and be the happy tramp, live under a bridge, wash windshields at busy intersections… The world needs hobos too, you know.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • Ginny

    As a 54 year old with a bad limp I would like to think s my age and cane are the reason I have not been able to get a permanent job in 2 years. My full resume is packed with achievement but I edit and tailor both my resume and cover letter to the advertised position – otherwise I would look to experienced and expensive.

    How am I living? On 9/1/2008 I had no debt at all but a small mortgage, six months of living expenses in the bank, a good 401(k) and a large and never tapped home equity line of credit. Since 2008 I have had 3 pulmonary embolisms, two hospitalizations and now have a stack of medical bills. I do have health insurance but it has a high deductible and doesn’t cover pharmaceuticals. So today my savings are gone, I am using up my line of credit, my 401(k) money will run out by next July. I am trying hard to develop more project work and begin generating real income. I still have my home, but I have put off much needed maintenance. Because I was honest about taking a few small contract projects and seeking self-employment I was cut off from unemployment insurance. I don’t think it is common to report income to the state, they seemed surprised that I did it. My income over the past two years is under $10,000.

    A year ago I created a list of inexpensive but nutritious foods and then a list of luxury items that I gave up. I put Kosher Dill pickles on my luxury list and that one decision hit me hard.

    My friends and family don’t seem to understand that I am telling the truth when I say I can’t afford to go out, can’t afford to get snow tires, can’t afford to call in a plumber. I am on a very tight budget, but people don’t seem to comprehend that my money will run out. My friends’ lack of comprehension and the arrogance of the pundits and politicians who think we are lazy and enjoy being unemployed is making it difficult not be be bitter.

    I long to be a productive, contributing member of my community and be able to go down the grocery store isle and reach for that jar of Kosher Dills with no hesitation.

    Ginny (Washington State) but please don’t use my name.

  • william

    “President Obama and the Dems have managed to get us back on the path to sustained job growth”

    How so? What are the grown sectors in today’s economy?

  • Zeno

    Once unemployed there has to be a new decision process that divides want from need. This being said the unemployed should eliminate all subscription based expenses based on want (Cable TV, magazines, cell phones, etc.), and then work at reducing the cost of necessary subscriptions (Fuel, phone, electric, food, etc.).

    I am amazed how many people with low or no earnings have cell phones and cable TV!. I installed four antennas in my attic, two amplifiers, etc (total one time cost $350), return 15 channels for free – forever. Need more use Netflix, or HULU.

    Phone: I used to pay $48/mth even if I made no calls…Solution Bare low speed DSL $18/mth + Vonage ($18/mth). All calls and services included + adequate internet speed for online viewing.

    I am heating with a small 40 year old wood stove, and I gather the wood myself (people always want trees cut down). The gas company now changes the meter all the time (very satisfying), why don’t they just ask? BUT, wood burning requires knowledge and dedication, it is definitely not for everybody…and I grew up with it. Burning pallets is green and saves our landfills from unnecessary bulk, and its free.

    The basic principle is that you have more time than money, so use your time to reduce costs. Everyone’s situation is different, so what can be done depends on your situation. I have lowered my costs to where I can survive on $12k per year. That’s just survival, no treats, no flat screen TV’s, no dining out, no trips, no new cars, no new gadgets. I swapped many of my old appliances with used appliances which are usually free. That upper 20% throws away better equipment than most people own.

    My furniture is either hand made by me (it beats watching TV, and you don’t need all the fancy shop equipment either), or free stuff from family or street-side.

    Food: If you shop wisely you can eat quite well for very little. Combine a non-card based store, with non subscription outlet stores and dollar stores, and you will be able to eat well and healthy for $30/week.

    I could write a book on the subject…Maybe I should?

    Now all this being said, i have friends that are getting over $500/week in unemployment and just continue on, year after year, as though the reality of the world is not going to work its way up to them. I wish them well but I am envious, because they make more in a week for doing nothing, than I do in two weeks of hard manual labor. Maybe I’m the real fool here?

  • bob

    I was out for 11 months and people smarter than me have been out for 2+ years. It’s insane. I felt like I was in hell, had daily anxiety attacks, and though about suicide every other day. You never find out about this until you get there and you can’t get out. I’m scarred for life now.

    “The ultimate indignity”, training people from India to do your work for 1/5th the cost, you get laid off, they keep working, and you end up in mental hell. If there’s revolution time coming in this country (work stopage); I’ll be there to support it 100%.

  • Zeno

    I just listened to the Sheila Egan story. A six figure income for 11 years! I could have retired after earning six figures for four years!. I have very little sympathy for her. What did she do with all that money? Yikes!

    The truth is once you have been unemployed for six months you are no longer employable in the high tech field you left. That’s just reality, of the market…not the reality of of you. I could step back into engineering with very little difficulty, but that is not the reality of the job market at this time.

    I meet unemployed/underemployed engineers etc. all the time. This country has millions of unemployed highly skilled people…but the decision makers will hire work visa, and illegals over any American any day.

    It lowers their cost and raises their bonuses. Why hire Americans when they don’t even have to insure the visa people or pay minimum wage to the illegals.

  • http://ncpr.org stillin

    The construction industry has been soaking up unemployment for decades. I know, my husband works it, makes a ton of money when he works, collects unemployment when he’s “off”…it’s ridiculous. He makes sooooo much money as a superintendent he shouldn’t need unemployment…he lives off it very well. Had a bmw until he wrecked it, doesn’t pay child support…I don’t see him stressin, just waiting for his next unemployment check, until the weather warms up and he can return to his 3,000 a week after taxes big money construction job.

  • http://bruceguindon.com bruce guindon

    As long as you have little or no manufacturing in the country we will be plagued with poor performance in the job market and you can debate the matter til the cows come home and it will change nothing

  • LIZ

    I like Bob’s idea of a work stoppage protest, but I don’t expect people with jobs to risk retaliation on behalf of their unemployed peers.

    I want to know, why do we still have a 40-hour work week?? We have automation, we have good productivity, so why are we still working so hard? Is it to have all the latest gadgets? Is America unable to provide food, shelter, and education for its citizens? Why is it suddenly so hard to earn a living? Something is very amiss here.

    I think of all the resources being diverted for unproductive purposes: military (including secret research on technologies that are being withheld from the public), cagey “financial services,” huge government bureaucracies… it makes you want to wipe the slate clean and just start over, if only that were possible.

  • Zeno

    A national health care policy based on single payer would really help the US become competitive within the world economy, and make older employees much more desirable in the job market as well.

    Insurance companies are just one more form of servitude that is bleeding the country dry.

  • Brett

    stillin,
    this bothers me, as well. Also, chefs in resort areas do the same little routine: make a killing in season, collect unemployment in the off season. It is a way of life for many construction workers and restaurant workers. I know chefs who could do so much with their skills and contacts but they see the off season as paid vacation leave.

  • WINSTON SMITH

    There is plenty of blame to go around for the lack of jobs. The big labor unions fought for rediculously unproductive work rules and wages/benefits, and management let them get away with it when the U.S. was on top and there was no international competition in steel and auto manufacturing. Management allowed poorly designed and performing cars to be produced in their factories. Government workers unions have won from the Democrats rediculourly generous pension/retirement packages. And the financial/mortgage sector couldn’t grab the money fast enough. Now that we have a $14 trillion deficit (really a $50 trillion deficit if the government was required to do their accounting using the same accounting rules as the private sector), there is no money to fix anything. Our best days are long behind us.

  • http://www.venturacommenter.org F. William Bracy

    Ventura, California

    Everything that is happening to people now happened to me in the previous “great recession” of the late 80s and early 90s. What out-of work folks in their 50′s today need to realize is that they are most likely never again going to work in their old field of work — certainly not at the level they once did. Trust me on this.

    I was 55 when aerospace in California dried up. Electronics engineers were a dime a dozen. But I did one thing that many others did not do, feeling that their age made the option of returning to school impossible. It wasn’t impossible. I even obtained student loans, including one grant, believe it or not (which — in the loan case — I just paid off this month.)

    It took a career change and it took four years to land that next $90k job, but it did happen. I got a programming degree and “as luck would have it,” the Internet boom was just about to take off. There’s always luck, but you also can create your own luck.

    I lost a house in the meantime with a bankruptcy, and I’ll never own another. Building back credit today under these circumstances is almost impossible, and the banks do not care. Unfortunately for them, they’ll discover the moon-sized crater that has been blown out the heart of the credit industry — maybe not today, but in the near future. This is just one more reason (out of the many) why American-style consumerism — as the prime driver behind GDP growth — is destined to die almost as quickly as did the dinosaurs.

    Get used to it.

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    In this country, we have a minimum wage, we have some inspectors enforcing reasonably decent working conditions for many employees in many companies, and we occasionally even enforce an environmental law or two that keeps the worst pollution at bay. I wonder how many domestic manufacturing jobs would have been saved over the last few decades if we had insisted that goods imported into this country had to be manufactured under similar conditions as we insist on in the U.S.? Wasn’t that the original plan for NAFTA? Didn’t we say we’d do that later and then never got around to it?

  • Zeno

    The worldwide unemployment and recession will likely lead to several new wars. North Korea is bombing South Korea : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/8153000/North-Korea-bombs-South-Koreas-Yeonpyeong-Island.html

    War is the offspring of income inequality. It will mean more jobs, but maybe not the jobs you want.

  • http://www.markpatterson.ca Mark Patterson

    Do you ever wonder if those complaining about gov’t debt while wanting to extend tax breaks for the rich are those with gold-plated jobs and health plans bestowed on them by virtue of a government contract?

    MLP Canton Melbourne, QC

  • Larry

    The criminal banks and the corrupt politicians (Washington) that stole 14 trillion dollars from our Treasury to cover their losses think they have gotten away with the largest heist in history.

    Payment is now coming due you criminals.

  • Janet in Brentwood Tennessee

    Tom, there are “help wanted” signs everywhere here in Brentwood, TN. McDonald’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, the auto inspection station just to name three I saw yesterday. These are part-time and fulltime minimum wage jobs. I think there is an issue of unemployed people feeling they can not afford to work for minimum wage. But isn’t working for minimum wage better, and wouldn’t it lead to a more effective job search, than not working at all?

  • Rob (in NY)

    @Zeno,
    North Korea is bombing South Korea because it is a rogue Communist state with a ruthless dictator attempting to keep his graspe on power. This has absolutely nothing to do with global unemployment from the recession. Tom, I would ask your guests to discuss their opinions regarding why long term unemployment rates over extended periods of time have been substantially higher in most (not all, most) of these Western European nations with more generous social welfare states. I would also ask both conservative and liberal guests to provide potential solutions beyond the standard left ring rhetoric supporting a larger and more redistributive social welfare state and conservative support for tax cuts. Perhaps your guests can also comment on what people can do to maintain/develop skills while unemployed. I would also hope that some of the posts above threatening violence against others are not serious.

  • Zeno
  • Larry

    9.5% unemployment is Soviet Union style propaganda.

    The real rate is closer to 22%.

    And everyone in this country knows it including the mainstream media that shills for the elite.

    http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

  • Zappetite

    I am two months from my 60th birthday. I have been unemployed since 2004 when I had a partial hip fracture. My 58 year old wife was forced to move us to a state where we did not want to live in order to remain employed. She has had two heart attacks due to the stress of her jobs but cannot quit because she is our only income and has health insurance. She commutes 70 miles because we cannot afford housing near her job. I cannot get SS disability because I have a pretty good education. We cannot help our marginally employed son or our elderly parents because we barely get by. Everything I try to be productive costs us money we don’t have. It seems too late to make any kind of a new start. At various times we have considered drug overdose mutual suicide just to get out of our deteriorating and shameful existence. I’m often too disheartened to write on the internet.

    I recall fondly how I returned to school on Pell grants in 1982 after being unemployed from a window factory. I became an activist and my wife a social worker. We volunteered to run a food bank then. Now my wife is ashamed of the predatory nature of the only position she can get as an insurance claims examiner. She wishes she could organize the workers there who are treated in an abusive way to meet unreasonable quotas, but that would mean homelessness. We are stockpiling those meds though. It seems like a soylient green world.

  • Realist?

    Our sense of entitlement to 6 figure incomes is shocking.

    To have all that income and spend it all to maintain a certain consumptive lifestyle is simply irresponsible.

    Live below your means. 4 simple words.

    Hoping we can pump it all back up with Federal Reserve money printing is a horrible delusion.

  • Matt

    Tom, I am an engineer with a Master degree and 22 years’ experience. I’ve been unemployed for over 20 months and have applied to 530 jobs. From that, I’ve had maybe 15 face-to-face interviews and one (meager) offer.
    Fairview, TN

  • DH

    Hi Tom and guests,

    I’ve been unemployed or under-employed journalist for 16 months. I was completely jobless for about 5 months, during which time I drew unemployment benefits. I’m slowly battling back with freelance jobs and a part-time job that, miraculously, will qualify me for good, cheap health insurance in about four months from now.

    I’ve applied for probably 200 jobs, and I’m wondering if I haven’t tried hard enough. It’s difficult to communicate the frustration, the humiliation, the helplessness, the fear that’s just become part of my life. When I was laid off in July 2009, I thought I would definitely be working by January.

    I’ve been turned down for jobs I never would have imagined applying for: call center employee, civil service entry-level positions, package handler at UPS.

    Anyway, I have lost hope. I literally cannot imagine getting another full-time job that paid me decently.

    That said — I have 15 years experience as a journalist. You hiring?

  • Kat

    What are the ethics involved for companies posting jobs? My husband has been brought in for multiple interviews on jobs he was really well-qualified for and then the company decided not to hire. Seems unprofessional to me but is it a symptom of the times? (Listening in Boston.)

  • Nancy Johnsen

    Having been unemployed since January, I find the employment climate to br challenging, and baffling. I have nearly 30 years of retail management experience in a “big box”, multi-million dollar retail store. This evidently makes me a less than idal candidate for even a lower level management position. I

  • Sinclair

    Agism: the 2 selected unemployed professionals are early middle-aged (47 + 50).

    It might help them if they picked-up part-time catering jobs ($17-$20/hour; better than nothing!) to raise their self-esteem + get them out of the house.

    Best of luck!

  • Marc

    Listening on line from Central Mass

    I have exhausted my unemployment benefits months ago. Fortunately for me, I lost my young wife to a brain tumor so my family receives benefits from social security…..

    Otherwise we’d be out on the street.

    Also, I get no relief when people tell me that I’m not alone in my unemployment.

  • Larry

    It is not the unemployed’s fault they have no job.

    It is the fault of the Wall Street who destroyed our economy with their criminal behavior.

  • Realist? Old USA

    Let this house of cards collapse already. Do not reward or bail out the banks. Cancel all mortgages written during the scam bubble with title given to owners. Cut the government drastically, let the shizzle hit the fan in terms of our managed economy, and let a real, organic economy grow from the ashes, with strict financial and environmental regulations, a reformed tax code, Flat tax and then after 1 million, progressive, and after that a Libertarian economy.

    We need to stop digging.

    We might crush the terrorists with all our might while we are in sacrifice mode and get that over with while we are at it and get the TSA out of our butts.

    We have been politically correct cowards and sheep of the global financial sector for too long, and this is our last gasp chance to be an independent people.

  • ThresherK

    The Beltway Inbreds, the people who drive the narratives of what shows up on your Evening News, have never treated such high, sustained unemployment with such disregard. Since WWII this level of unemployment has meant keeping unemployment benefits going. And that has meant billions in the economy, increasing demand when corporations and governments are looking to save every penny. Sometimes good policy and good politics are the same thing.

  • http://www.jbialek.com James Bialek

    I graduated from university in 2008. Employment prospects at that time were bleak so I decided to go abroad and I’ve been employed ever since. These days I am working as an English teacher in Taiwan. My salary allows me to live comfortably and still keep current on my student loans.

    I’m sorry to hear the woes of the jobless back in the states but people might consider looking abroad for work! The newspapers reported just today that the jobless rate in Taiwan has dropped below 5 percent. If things stay the way they are, I might stay abroad until I retire!

  • Will

    I’ve been unemployed for almost 2 years. I completed my masters last year in Urban Planning, which is a field that is dead in all but name for those without experience in the area and thinking of getting into it. I’ve gone back to looking into more general corporate jobs etc but with no luck. Every lead has been a dead end.

    To the guest’s point about making use of one’s 8 hours during the day that would otherwise have been for a work day, I’m now at home with two children and only have evenings to work. What exactly is someone in my position supposed to do?

  • steve

    Does anyone listening today still consider themselves an American citizen?

  • Trudy

    Sadly, this is an issue that has been building. It is not just a phenomena of the current recession. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote about long-term unemployment of white collar workers in Bait & Switch. This is not a cyclical problem. It’s structural. Here’s a blurb about the book from her website:

    Bait and Switch highlights the people who’ve done everything right — gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés — yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today’s ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their “surplus” employees — plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers — and little security even for those who have jobs.

  • KKirsch

    I’m from Rochester NY and fortunately have found a job with a fine company this time around. In the past I have been cut loose at every economic downturn. My wife is currently unemployed and she is a ICU Nurse.
    For companies to not hire the unemployed is astounding. There are plenty of great people out there that have been sacked for no other reason than being in the wrong desk at the wrong time.
    The other illusion that occurs is that people won’t find work because there is unemployment insurance. This is also a myth. Unemployment will not support the average worker in the lifestyle they had while employed. They can only survive by greatly reducing their means of living. I have been there and even bought my house based on the mortgage being at a level where unemployment will pay for it.
    The only way to get jobs back is to either make labor costs much cheaper here or restrict companies from outsourcing out of the US.
    Just read an article about Boeing giving away aircraft designing and building technology to China. Now China is producing their own aircraft at 20% less. This kind of managment has really damaged the job market and it is not comming back.

  • Mike in Burlington, Vermont

    I am listening to people tell stories about being on the job market for a year or more, and I have to wonder. Being on the job market for more than a year is the norm in academia, and it has been the norm for many, many years. This situation that people find themselves in now is striking them as something new. It isn’t. The economy has simply changed such that they are now included in the mess of the long-term unemployed. They need support groups to deal with what has been a fact of life in higher education for over a decade. For years, the American economy and American society in general has ignored and not prioritized education, which led to high unemployment rates, massive underemployment, and long terms spent searching for a job in higher ed. Very few people seemed to care when the corporate world in which the newly long-term unemployed was chugging along nicely. Well, now the unsustainable economy that was created by that corporate world is hurting, so society’s priorities have had to change. Guess what? That means your jobs are no longer considered as important as they were. Academics have been living with the reality of that marginalization for decades. I find it hard to find sympathy when people are presenting this as a new issue now that it is affecting them too.

  • Annie

    Listening from Waitsfield, Vermont

    My mom worked only part time while raising my brother and I. My dad was the bread-winner. Her long-term unemployment contributed to the deterioration of my parent’s marriage, and recently, when my dad passed away unexpectedly, there was no income. Because she spent most of her time raising her children, she doesn’t have a strong resume of recent employment. She is an incredibly bright, hard-working individual, and has nursing assistant certification. Now she’s just scraping by, selling anything she can, including our home and vehicles. I’m left to manage my recent college loans on my own. My brother has had to join the military. My mom is going on almost three years of unemployment. We can’t even afford to visit each other for the holidays.

  • Tiffany

    How am I coping? I relocated to Marlborough, Massachusetts with my husband for his job as a software engineer 2.5 years ago. Except for an internship for six months, I am 32 and have been unemployed since then. I have a Master’s in Environmental Policy(where are the green jobs in MA?????). It has been horrible living in a new place with few outlets to meet new people. Since I am a 32 yo woman without kids and for commute reasons have to live in the suburbs, people have told me “why don’t you just have kids?” Seriously, just what we need- another mouth to feed. As a “young” person, I feel so isolated from others my age who are out there just starting there careers while I sit on the sidelines pursuing my hobbies- cooking and working out. This is not where this liberal “girl power” educated woman planned to be in her thirties.

  • http://NA Paul J Mushrush

    People of the disabled and unemployed population face the search for a job with added difficulties. I was laid off from my position as a draftsperson for a small architecture firm in February of 2009, and due partially to my disability have had no success getting employed. Because I cannot survey or visit construction sites, my eligibility as an entry-level architecture staff is not as good as most people who can do such physical/mobile tasks.

    Due to my disability I have no option to enter a service industry position, (such as waitstaff, bartending, or physical labor jobs.)

  • Byron Simms

    I am 51 and have been out of work since June, the longest spell of unemployment in my life, by far.

    I have managed to get some short-term contract work here and there, and am collecting unemployment benefits, but there is virtually NO discretionary spending in our household. I have a son in college, am paying a mortgage, etc., and usually have to withdraw savings each month to meet expenses.

    At my age, there is really little chance of getting a low-paying job, since these positions are filled by younger people with lower expectations and greater physical capabilities. Besides that, there is no incentive to taking a job that will pay less than the ~$500/week unemployment check; I’ll just keep looking s long as I can…

    My suspicion is that there is a HUGE underground economy right now, many long-term unemployed are taking cash jobs at the same time that they are collecting unemployment benefits, just to make ends meet.

    Thanks for airing this story.

  • Webb Nichols

    The truth is that fear drives those who are employed to do their work and the work of those who were laid off thus productivity continues to rise in the face of shrinking jobs. The fact is there are not enough jobs to go around.

    Unless the cost of producing goods and services in the United States drops to levels which are competitive with the rest of the world, nothing will change.

    The disparity between the rich and poor makes the situation even worse beyond the fact that it is already intolerable.

  • Lori

    I was unemployed for 9 months after working for 12 years as a professor at a state university. Because my husband is self-employed, my health insurance had covered the family. One of my biggest fears was being without health insurance and, had it not been for the federal government’s contribution to my COBRA payments, we would have been uninsured. I was the primary ‘bread winner’ in the family and we would not have been able to get through 9 months as a family of 4 without financial help from family. It is humiliating and humbling. For months I could not find a job — even in retail. I was considered ‘over qualified’ which is unfortunate because I don’t think anyone is over qualified for any job. I was lucky to get a full-time job in September but the contract ends in May. After that, I very well could be in the same boat again.

  • jeffe

    It might help them if they picked-up part-time catering jobs ($17-$20/hour; better than nothing!) to raise their self-esteem + get them out of the house.

    This is nonsense, have you looked at these ads? Do you know how much experience one needs to get this kind of work? Most catering companies will not hire inexperienced wait staff or bartenders. Wont happen, and they don’t pay $20 an hour.

  • Zeno

    The reason the people who are unemployed do not take the minimum wage job, is the loss of their current benefits. I’ve heard it over and over again: “I make more in unemployment than I do with the minimum wage…”, and after that their unemployment check will be sized to the minimum wage job, not the 100K wage job.

  • Mikki

    Hi! My name is Mikki and I live in Augusta, Ga. I have been unemployed since January 2009. My unemployment benefits ran out in May and I have been struggling ever since. Just when I was getting on my feet I was laid off. I have so many creditors calling me, even though I’ve told them I have no money to give. I went back to school in June and have been living off my VA benefits and my monthly stipend. I thought since I am a veteran and knew the cutting edge technology that I’d find a job quickly. This is not so. I’ve been stressed out and if I fail one of my classes, I’ll have to pay the VA back, therefore rendering me unable to pay my rent.I’m unable to find suitable employment and I’m praying for a miracle. At least I have a friend to live with in another state if I am unable to keep a roof over my head.

  • Zappetite

    Janet in Tenn. -As soon as the shops you mentioned are able to find someone willing to work for minimum wage they will be able to fire (not layoff)a higher paid person. My son is one of those 60+ hour a week managers who has been told he must lower payroll by using just such a strategy.

  • Dave

    I have been unemployed for well over a year, I have had multiple recruiters tell me that I have been out of work for too long to be considered for a position. I have great experience with a long history of increasing responsibility and compensation, good references, recommendations etc. My wife is in a similar boat – thankfully we managed to sock a good bit away over the years, but our savings are going down the drain. I enjoy having more time with the kids, but the stress is terrible.

  • Tricia Griffith

    Good Topic. Poor choice of examples. Is a pharmaceutical rep a sympathetic figure to those who live paycheck to paycheck. She made six figures. What did she do with it? The gentleman is a figure who inspires a little more sympathy. But in an economy that is firing teachers, police and health professionals. When the public sector is being destroyed. Give me a break!!

  • Jane

    I am wondering how much of the unemployed work force is made up of individuals who retired with a pension/retirement fund, but who went back to work because they enjoy it, and not because they need the money? (i know of someone in this position).

    Is the longer life expectancy, and consequent improved health, of our retired classes making it more difficult to place working-age individuals who continue to need jobs to sustain themselves financially? Could these retired-but-working classes be skewing the unemployment statistics when we compare our current unemployment statistics with other historic high unemployment periods?

    Is it appropriate to extend unemployment benefits to individuals who were laid off, but didn’t need the job in the first place? Is there a way to means test unemployment benefits, especially if we are going to extend such benefits?

  • Phil Wagner

    A few years ago I decided to get back into the teaching field. I went through the re-certification process but the best I’ve been able to do is go get some long-term substituting positions. I finally decided to apply for early retirement from Social Security. That at least pays the bills. I’ve applied to every opening in my teacher field this side of Hartford but rarely even get an interview.
    The Social Security and some per-diem substituting jobs gets the bills paid but at some point in time I probably will have to stop substituting.
    Phil
    Danbury, CT

  • http://naturemyth@comcast.net William Butler

    This recession is the result of an international fraud, perpetrated by “financial” services. This multi-tentacled beast is still at large, pillaging their victims further through several abuses. One of the most onerous of these is the 0% credit card scam that Bank Of America,etc were pushing so hard during the heyday of easy credit. They were essentially offering a 0% loan for one year. Irresistable. After the cc holder brings the balance up to a large enough sum the bank begins to shift due dates; this is particularly meaningful if a due date that was once the 3′rd of the month gets switched “back” to the 28′th. Most people get paid on the 1′st, so they are forced to break the contract, their rate then goes up to 30% and they become ensnared. This is the modern day equivalent of enslavement. Millions of people have been & are being affected by this now illegal practice. Our economy lags without these folks’ purchasing power. Instead of buying things they are paying off a rapidly compounding debt. These x-consumers are embarrassed and they are also very angry. It is my opinion that the business plan of the banks was never to honor the original advertised offer. Their end game was to manipulate credit card holders into high percentage debt. If you want to help the economy & get people back to work, force the banks to roll back these debts to the point of the original deal, credit the card holder w/ whatever has been paid & go forward, no tricks.

  • jeffe

    Don’t people see what is going on here?
    This nation is finished, we are done. These people will most likely not find work again if they are over 45.
    This is the reality. We can’t even get a good national health care service in place, health care is a mess and is also a huge part of this problem. Don’t people see what is going on here? The fat cats on wall street took home record, I repeat record bonuses this year. Think about this. We live in a plutocracy, period.

    Boston, MA

  • joe fedup

    Long term unemployment degrades your personal passions. I, like the architect caller, dream of switching careers everyday. The deep hole this crisis is creating is a bunch of people who take anything and then get so disheartened they create an apathetic workforce.

    Also, your guest is recommending exactly what’s wrong with this country. The substance of achievements in a resume is secondary to the ‘marketing’ of one’s self. I’ve been in marketing for 20+ years and I abhor the tricks we play to make you ‘think’ everything has substance. I’m through with it. GOING BACK TO WHAT I DO WELL, NOT HOW I CAN ‘MARKET’ IT. What does America have to market when the rest of the world is making everything and moving forward?

  • Thomas Jefferson

    One day we will all see the folly of supporting our Democrat/Republican global financial sector party selling us all out into a one world labor force, and shocked as you will be, we will all be Tea Partiers. Too late of course.

    Liberty and independence are more than quaint ideas. They are pragmatic means to protecting our dignity, security, and any of the wealth you manage to scrape together from this cold cosmos, without having some central planners take it away to do what they think is best with it.

    When you give away your independence, your sovereignty, don’t be surprise where you end up.

    200 years was a good run, but sadly American citizens couldn’t handle the vigilance and self-responsibility required of self-government, and really the experiment is almost over.

    Blame the banks, blame the politicians, but we let them do it by handing over our liberty, financial, labor, political, you name it…

  • FlyingBanana

    Min wage jobs are all part time.Try getting 2 or 3 part time jobs at the same time. Impossible. All employers want to own part time employees for their own schedules.schedules are never consistent. You make more money with unemployments than working a min wage job.I lost my job and ended up taking a min wage job because I knew the mgr. Worked their for 9 mos. Tried to work at least 2 jobs at the same time. Was impossible.Employers will give you min hours and keep more employees no matter how hard you work and will change schedules constantly.
    Nashville, TN

  • Sara

    I realize for the long term unemployed paying bills today is paramount. Most say they are living on savings. I suspect those would be retirement savings. What happens for the next generation when these 40-50 year olds reach retirement age but have not had time to rebuild their savings? They continue working leaving fewer openings for the younger generation. 20 years from now we will be suffering another depression due to the economics of today.

  • Larry

    Can we all realize that it is wrong to point fingers at the unemployed no matter what level of job they had before. Six figure, school teacher, construction worker, advertising creative, everyone is without a job and not to blame.

    Place the blame where it belongs on the criminals on Wall Street who brought us to this.

    Always fight upwards people. Not down on people who are even worse off than you.

  • Larry

    I realize for the long term unemployed paying bills today is paramount. Most say they are living on savings. I suspect those would be retirement savings. What happens for the next generation when these 40-50 year olds reach retirement age but have not had time to rebuild their savings? They continue working leaving fewer openings for the younger generation. 20 years from now we will be suffering another depression due to the economics of today.
    Posted by Sara

    Sara we will have a whole generation of poverty-stricken seniors and pre-seniors. Bottom line.

  • Nadia Nikonnikovf

    THere is a terrible double edged sword with unemployment issues these days.

    THe ‘day laborer’ and ‘minimum wage shops’ don’t want to hire people with skills because they know they will have to replace them as soon as they foind “real work”.

    Real business work is so obsessed with off shoring and sending jobs away to make bottom lines look good that they don’t want to pay for experience or even take on employees in this country anymore but all the upper folks keep their jobs.

    I have had people tell me to take off my years of experience and my higher degrees just to be able to be looked at for opportunities.

    What to do… make up things whole cloth?

    No one wants anyone with skills or not quite exactly to the letter all the skills needed.

    It is very disturbing how poorly people are treating people who want to work but are locked out due to this double edged sword.

  • http://www.labrecqueart.com Theresa LaBrecque

    Good day and thank you for your great program.

    My comment is this;

    When talking about long term unemployment please ad to your conversation and concern the
    self employed/unemployed. We cannot register for unemployment benefits and therefore do not show up on the radar screen.
    I have not been sufficiently employed by my business for over two years. I and others like me are struggling just as badly as the once employed that can register.
    Thank you very much,
    Theresa LaBrecque

  • Thomas Jefferson

    If you think Socialism and printing money from the Federal Reserve is going to save the American dream, we are really deluded.

    2 choices:
    -Be absorbed by China with tail between our legs.

    -Start over. Chase the bankers, wall streeters and Democrat Republican bums out of their posts. Let an organic economy of true needs and demands develop. Strict legal framework and penalties for Corporate/Government corruption, a limited government that fights terrorists without shame, and a new sense of decency and honor from a populace ready to work for honest livings.

  • Gerald Fnord

    Unemployment is not the problem; unemployment is the solution.

    Automate everything, destroy unnatural property rights (they’re State creations anyway), and onward to storming Heaven.

  • Scott Burns

    Business and banks need to step up at swing at the ball instead of sitting on those billions. Everyone wants to wait and see what happens, and trying to do more with less. Too many banks and businesses are looking at profits and not what’s good for people and the country. So people aren’t being hired, the people working are trying to do their jobs and the jobs of the missing workers, and all this money working people are missing isn’t going into the economy.

    *****

    In my small town there’s a major automotive business that rehired the hundreds they laid off, PLUS are hiring 50 more full time people, even though the admit business is slow, but they see it slowly coming back and they wanted to get people back to work. And those jobs are for a really good wage. But another parts maker (with an owner everyone would recognize) got HUGE write-ups on the front page for rehiring, but they only rehired FIVE people! My wife was one of those people, and because the company twisted the union, and the union caved, my wife is now working the same job (after almost 3 year of unemployment) for McJob wages that she was making $12@hr for. She didn’t want to go back, but I was laid off, too, and her unemployment extensions had run out.

  • Larry

    How about talking about the H1-B visa workers still here in this country taking American jobs almost 3 years after this recession (depression) started?

    WE DO NOT OWE THE WORLD A JOB. SEND THESE PEOPLE HOME NOW AND STOP THE H1-B VISA PROGRAM.

  • Samuel Johnson

    I’m from near Harrisonburg, Virginia. Don’t laugh at my suggestion! I’ve been a fruit and vegetable grower for over 30 years. I started a farmers market 30+ yrs ago. If an unemployed person has kitchen, craft or garden skill, consider producing something and taking it to a farmer’ market to sell to the public (at retail prices). This doesn’t fit everyone (no way to get rich quick), but consider your skills and interests, hobbies, etc, and see if there isn’t something you can produce to give yourself a little income and perhaps some satisfaction in the work of your hands.

  • http://www.afarkas.com Andrew Farkas, Cambridge, MA

    We need 2 things to happen:

    1. We need the tremendously wealthy to do the right thing and give up the bulk of their wealth, so others may live.

    2. We need to show the breadth of the problem- I propose a sit-out: everyone who is unemployed go downtown (wherever their downtown is) and sit on the sidewalks, in order to showcase the currently hidden problem.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Is there a transfusion or a pill the Republicans and those “holding” Capital ($2 trillion) can take that will replace their selfish greed with compassion and understanding? That might help a lot of people.

    For the Republicans and their constituents to say that Capital is “waiting for certainty to return to the future” is I think double-speak for their obvious willingness to trash our economy and our future even further than they have just to simply get their way (the full bush tax cuts, abolish Obamacare, etc.).

    The Architect who called in wondering about the “green jobs” raises a very valid question. Why aren’t we spending stimulus funds on real green projects? I think it might be time to take to the streets in peaceful protest.

    Shame on you Tom- DON’T LIE.

  • Samuel Johnson

    PS. AND, a GREAT way to network!

  • Mary Hooper

    I have a friend that was laid off after 20+ years. The plant was shut down. He was offered a transfer, but he would lose his seniority, and he could therefore be the first to get laid off at the new plant if they cut back for some reason. If that happened, he would lose all of his retirement benefits. He’s now on unemployment. The system seems to be stacked against him!

  • jeffe

    Jane I’m having a Dan Aykroyd moment here ala SNL.
    Are you kidding? Wake up!

    Not one person is dealing with the reality, this is not going to change these people are going to become homeless.
    Our nation is going to add millions of people into poverty.

  • Back to Basics

    Our economy was a bubble-based sham!

    To think all the mindless, pointless, unproductive in any tangible sense jobs will come back seems moronic.

    Food, shelter, basic enjoyment of life. Once the economy and our willingness to labor in those things is the focus again, we might actually get somewhere.

    Expect less, Do more.

    oooooooo, dirt under the fingernails!

    Unrealizable expectations will never be met. And we denigrate ourselves groveling to hucksters who promise them.

  • http://na Max

    I have been unemployed for > 2yrs and have also found interviewers have turned cold as well. For example, I have had several “good cop/bad cop” interviews with some _very_bad_cops_ almost torment (me) the interviewee.

    I have even had a 30 minutes!! ‘POP QUIZ’ given to me during interviews.

    I am very angry at Obama for his lack of ingenuity. I have wondered why an other jobs WPA like program has not been started. For example, the gulf BP oil crisis could have been mitigated with students or others bringing their knowledge to bare.

    Cheers,
    Max

  • C Gray

    I have been reading the above posts and my heart is breaking to read many of the life problems people are experiencing. I’m right there with you all.

    The thing that gets me most is, like many of you stated, people are unemployed or underemployed. Companies are hiring people either way below a livable wage or cutting so many jobs, to increase their profits, that they are working the few remaining employees to death.

    What they are forgetting is that if too many people are unemployed and the rest are underemployed that means NONE OF US have the money to buy anything! Companies are shooting themselves in the foot and they don’t even see it.

    I see that many of the wealthy in this country do not have a clue as to how bad it is getting for the rest of us. More and more companies are losing revenues because no one has any extra money, and I mean NO EXTRA MONEY, for anything any more.

    My husband got a 25% pay reduction at work. That translates to $800 less income a month than we had before. We used to have four satellite boxes in our house (you know, that satellite deal you get on the four boxes?) well, we are down to one, had to shut off the other three and send them back. Had to adjust our auto insurance to make it as cheap as we can. I have had to give up all three of my prescription drugs and opt for cheaper, over the counter, stuff that doesn’t work as well, and I can’t always afford that every month. We go nowhere anymore. We can’t even afford to go to a movie now and then. We can’t have friends over for dinner any more because we can’t afford the extra food required to do so. There is no extra money for hand lotion, hairspray, perfume, etc. Some months I have trouble affording feminine products, how deplorable is that??!!!!

    I hope I am making my point. If companies keep under paying everyone and then no one can afford to buy anything. If people aren’t buying anything then that causes even more reductions in jobs. It’s a vicious cycle that is being created by the companies themselves. Their greed is screwing everything up in this country!!! How much freakin’ profit do you need? And, do you need to get to the detriment of the rest of us? Here’s the part where I voice my anger….how do you people sleep at night? Are your outrageous profits so important to you that you care about them more than the people that helped you to get them? If it wasn’t for consumers and the worker bees YOU WOULD HAVE NOTHING!!!

    If employers don’t start realizing that they need to pay livable wages and quit overworking their employees they ARE going to cause a “work stoppage” in this country. I see it coming. We are all getting really sick of this crap. We barely make enough money to live on and we are so over worked we have no time to spend with our families. Enough is enough!! If you don’t think we will stand up to this injustice….think again. It is coming. We have had it.

    I would LOVE to see a “work stoppage” in this country and I would like to see it take as long as necessary until we get out point across.

    And to those Republicans that think we are all just “lazy”….we aren’t lazy….we are exhausted! We are tired of working to death while making you rich and we can barely afford food and barely afford to put roofs over our heads. Believe me when I say….we will fight back and that time is approaching, we just haven’t gotten there yet. American’s will unite and we will fight this injustice. You are hurting us and our families. You are taking food out of our children’s mouths. You can’t expect to keep that up and for us to just sit and take it. This should be a message to politicians too. You are NOT exempt from this! You share the responsibility. Too many politicians pander to corporations and these same politicians better start changing this because we are freakin’ sick of it.

  • jon

    Why is no one talking about the number of H1-B visas being given out that allow people from other countries to come and work in the US. Every single one of those visas means a job that does not go to an American citizen.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I’m missing most of the show, and reading comments much too quickly, but if I were in a city with a lot of unemployed, I would try to shift it from competing with all those other unemployed, and morph the situation into trying to figure out together what actually needs to be done work-wise in the present environment, and then organize to create a self-industry that starts to accomplish that. It apparently doesn’t matter if there is no pay at the start, since there is no pay anyway. But you keep at it till it does start to pay. If you’re right about the skills available and the needs present, then it’ll work out.

  • Jim

    12 million illegal aliens, 12 million unemployed American citizens. In my simple mind, the numbers add up.

  • Noah Beit-Aharon

    A new idea for laid-off construction workers, architects, engineers: form a charity. Haiti’s infrastructure is in very poor condition, and could use not only reconstruction, but earthquake-proof reconstruction. A well-run NFP organization could raise money in the US and use it to hire architects etc. and buy materials to work with the Haitian government in construction. Ideally, this organization would hire Haitians as well, to work on the building projects and learn solid engineering at the same time. It just seems like such a waste that we should have so many unemployed workers in the construction field, and they should have so few well-constructed buildings.

  • jeanine, rhode island

    in response to the woman who saw three jobs advertised just driving around yesterday, and the man whose wife is working at a waitress:
    minimum wage jobs cannot support a single person let alone a family.
    most jobs of the type she mentions are part time so that employers won’t have to pay benefits.
    if a mature adult applies for a low level job he/she is considered over experienced and educated and loses out to students or recent graduates.

  • jeffe

    The last caller is a perfect example of what’s wrong in this nation. The ugly American. The person who thinks he’s paying for you. Rubbish, this kind of mentality is useless and only selfish. This guy’s attitude is wrong, period.

  • Larry

    Why is no one talking about the number of H1-B visas being given out that allow people from other countries to come and work in the US. Every single one of those visas means a job that does not go to an American citizen.
    Posted by jon

    We need to scream bloody murder to our Congressman in Washington about H1-B visas. WHY HASN’T THE PROGRAM BEEN STOPPED when 20 million Americans have no job?

  • Ralph

    The federal government needs to replace their unemployment support program with an employment program.

  • IWANTTOWORK!

    I live in the Omaha NE Metro area. I agree with all the talk about age-ism, it is truly a factor. I have dropped off the bottom 15 years of experience from my resume just to make my age not so apparent. I have witnessed, many times, employers hire someone much less experienced, and much younger, into a position I am completely qualified for. I never dreamed that dedicating myself to a job for so long be detrimental to my ability to work again. There needs to be some incentive for employers to hire the “middle aged” employee. It is so draining to go through the emotional roller-coaster of apply, interviewing, interviewing, interviewing, waiting for weeks, only to be told they have decided to “go another direction”. And that direction is typically under 35. No, it may not be provavble, but discrimination due to age is definitely out there. Thanks for listening, NPR!

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Scott Burns at 10:45
    The corporations aren’t sitting on billions, they are sitting on over $2 trillion dollars!

    To Jeff the caller saying “get a job”, “nobody else caused you to be unemployed”, actually a large part of the reason the economy is so bad is because the wealthy and the powerful have gamed the system so long for their own advantage to the detriment of the rest of us. The $2 trillion mentioned above is just such an example.

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

    I see it as a problem with the velocity of money. It doesn’t matter how much money you put in the system, it matters how quickly that money moves around all parts of the economy. Money works best when it changes hands the most, but in order for that to happen, everyone needs to be paid a living wage so that they can spend on everything that they need and the money can keep moving around. I think that subsidized markets and folks making so much that they can’t spend enough to put it back in the system prevent money from flowing how it should.

    As much as I hav been critical of Bernanke, the threat of inflation is actually a good thing because when it put’s people in a position where they want to use their money rather than just letting it sit around and rot away. What I think we really need is education programs that give people the confidence to forge their own market positions, rather than just applying for the positions created by others.

    Trust me, this sounds a lot easier than it is, especially in a market where no one has confidence in each other. I wonder at what point the credit rating system stigmatizes folks and prevents the market from working as it should. It’s not like there’s not enough work to go around. Things could be so much better, which indicates that there’s a lot of work to get there.

    We need to step up, not down. There are only so many positions to step down into without squeezing others out. We need to be able to have the confidence to step up into the new types of jobs that we haven’t yet realized the profits of. This is really tough to do though when loans are restricted because all of the money is in the bankers personal accounts, and they’re to greedy, and not good enough at banking to realize the importance of reinvesting that money in the cycle and not hoarding it out of fear of worse times. It’s that fear of something worse that could be preventing us from making something better happen.

  • Arturo

    Connecting the dots. How is economic growth measured? Growth in employment rate, growth in economic demand, and grwoth in capital investments are major indicators of economic growth, but from what I hear there is no great incentive in hiring while employers can take advantage of existing available opportunities for exploiting the current economic predicaments of the workers.

    If the Obama administration were as clever and coureous as politicians made us believe in 2008, and by now I have lost hope in them, the Obama administration would be designing policies for closing these loops. Instead President Obama is trying to reach a truce with the American Chamber of Commerce.

  • Larry

    12 million illegal aliens, 12 million unemployed American citizens. In my simple mind, the numbers add up.
    Posted by Jim

    That’s right Jim. Congress(Democrats and Republicans) and Obama need to make these illegals go home NOW!!!

    Washington doesn’t want to pay unemployment. They haven’t created any jobs. They haven’t started any jobs programs. What do they want us to do? EAT THE RICH?

  • Steve

    Thomas Jefferson…

    we are on the same page. The challenge is getting from here to there. There are many people that will be hurt severly in the transition and they need compassion.

  • http://weliveinProvidence,RI christina littlefield

    My husband was laid off in October 2008 from a company that provided services to Deustche Bank. Due to the bad loans, etc. that DB made, they curtailed abruptly future business plans with this company. He was laid off with no severance, just a $1300 a month Cobra payment to continue health care. In 2009 he had a pair of contract jobs that lasted 3 months each. No benefits were paid by either. In 2010 he has had a couple of call center jobs. The one he has now will offer medical insurance at a monthly rate of $628. which is almost have his take home pay. He has an MBA and many years of experience with financial analysis, budget preparation, corporate paralegal work, etc.
    I took care of my elderly parents in their own home for 8 years – I planned to do it for one year. I reentered the work force in March of 2008 and was laid off in October of 2008. I currently have a part time retail job with no benefits.
    I made my last mortgage payment this month, I can no longer afford it nor the Cobra payment of $1000 from another call center job he was laid off from.

    What angers me the most is that Medicare is deducted from my paycheck but I cannot have health insurance.
    The “Greatest Generation” will be my ‘death panel’.
    They and all the tea party nut cases. My conclusion is that the midwest and the south is the land of milk and honey where noone gets sick or is unemployed. Why else would all these elderly people and conservatives vote the way they do? Just racist I gusess.

    I am beyond despair that Obama let the Cobra subsidy go without a fight and that he is not on a nightly basis on the evening news doing a fireside chat type of rebuttal to the lies perpetrated on talk radio and Fox. Why weren’t the tea party folks mad at the deficits that the two Bush war mongerers ran up? It was ok then. Perhaps if the greatest generation had spent more time teaching their children to read and think and less time watching television we would have a critical thinking electorate. Perhaps if the greatest generation had not sold all their manufacturing companies to big conlomerates that moved them overseas their grandchildren might have jobs and health care and we would have responsible congress members that do their job and not just attain office for power, glamour and other perks.

  • Holly Dzyban

    I have been unemployed for 3 1/2 years. I was laid off from my first real job after college. I was a grant writer and brought in the funding to pay the wages of 1/4 of the staff in my office, including my own.

    In the year after I lost my job, I applied for dozens (if not hundreds) of jobs. My husband, baby and I moved to a city with more opportunities for employment. I received unemployment payments from the state. I took a very part-time job at a business that closed less than a year later. I worked at a temporary job with an office filled with other job-seekers.

    Later, I received training to be qualified as a substitute teacher, and subsequently started work as a sub. I started my own, VERY small business. I started another on-call job. I had another baby. Eventually I gave up hope of finding a “real” job, and I stopped applying.

    In the last few months, I have gotten to know a few other people who are unemployed. I sat one evening, listening to these two extremely talented women commiserating about their job searches, and I was in awe that they managed to keep their spirits up.

    I had been underemployed for so long that I was depressed. I felt worthless, even though intellectually I knew that I am a fantastic worker. I avoided friends, because I felt I had nothing interesting to say, and I was ashamed to still be underemployed.

    But these two women and their journeys have inspired me. I started applying for jobs again. I started received unemployment payments again. But more than that, I stopped believing that I have to find a job through traditional channels.

    I worked my way into my first job by volunteering, making myself useful and finding the money for my chosen employer to hire me. What is there to stop me from doing that again?

    I currently volunteer heavily for two organizations, either of which I would love to work for. I have spoken about the possibility with the leaders of both, and I feel hopeful for the first time in years.

    We live in a society where people are defined by their jobs. Right or wrong, we are. But it’s time for unemployment to lose the stigma.

  • JS from NY

    Corporations are sitting on lots of cash and won’t hire…they’re probably holding jobs hostage until they get what they want (more tax cuts…etc.)

    this from the NYTimes

    Cheap Debt for Corporations Fails to Spur Economy

    “-As many households and small businesses are being turned away by bank loan officers, large corporations are borrowing vast sums of money for next to nothing — simply because they can.
    Companies like Microsoft are raising billions of dollars by issuing bonds at ultra-low interest rates, but few of them are actually spending the money on new factories, equipment or jobs. Instead, they are stockpiling the cash until the economy improves.”
    …..The Federal Reserve has held official interest rates near zero for almost two years, which allows corporations to sell bonds with only slightly higher returns — even below 1 percent. But most companies are not doing what the easy monetary policy was intended to get them to do: invest and create jobs.

    The Fed’s low rates have in fact hurt many Americans, especially retirees whose incomes from savings have fallen substantially. Big companies like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and I.B.M. seem to have been among the major beneficiaries.

    “They are benefiting themselves by borrowing and keeping this cash, but it is not benefiting the economy yet,” said Dana Saporta, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York. ”

    …orporations now sit atop a combined $1.6 trillion of cash, a figure equal to slightly more than 6 percent of their total assets. In the first quarter of this year it was 6.2 percent of assets, the highest level since 1964, when it was 6.4 percent.

    When will they start spending that money — in particular, by hiring? …”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/business/04borrow.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=all

  • JS from NY

    It shows that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We need massive direct federal investiment in infrastructure, education, etc.

  • Who are we?

    “Companies are shooting themselves in the foot and they don’t even see it.”

    No, what most people are missing, is they are not! WE are not the consumptive engine any more. India, China, South America, they all are!

    We have been discarded. We spent all our wealth, then pushed debt all we could, now we are spent.

    Globalization nonsense in which only the traders and financiers of it all benefit has sold us out.

    Are you kidding me? You don’t think the USA could be self-sufficient in terms of food and fuel, IF THAT WAS OUR GOAL!? We have given our labor and liberty away to financial and globalization hucksters promising us the benefits which of course only they pocketed!

    INDEPENDENCE, LIBERTY, SELF SUFFICIENCY

    War to open up markets, blowback from that, an incredibly wasteful, shallow consumer society that is now bankrupt from war and entitlement programs that support the lobotomized sheep.

    What exactly are our values? What is work? Where does food and shelter come from? What do I need to be happy at the end of a work day with my family? Is the stress and worry of our current system worth it?

    What happened to automation leading to better living standards and more leisure time? Was there no productivity gains? Of course there were, YOU just didn’t get to keep them!

    When you give away all your liberty, your freedom, your dignity, and your labor to a bunch of banking hucksters and the politicians that build and maintain there trough, what do you expect?

  • jeffe

    It apparently doesn’t matter if there is no pay at the start, since there is no pay anyway. But you keep at it till it does start to pay. If you’re right about the skills available and the needs present, then it’ll work out.
    Posted by Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    You are kidding. So these people with families and bills should work for nothing just because the economy is tanking. There are so many things wrong with this idea I don’t know where to start. People need to eat. Working for free does not put food on the table. Wake up.

  • Mark

    The end results of a (horray for me,the hell with you) world! Can’t wait to see what the future holds! God help us all!

  • Daniel Singer

    I’ve been unemployed for most of the last 2.5 years, and the jobs that I’ve had have been temporary or turning out not to work for me and my employer.

    It’s hard for everyone, it’s hard on my wife who has always been the breadwinner. It’s hard for me because as an introvert I don’t like to network, but I know I have to because it’s the only way I’ll find work.

    Like everyone else, I get the occasional interview, but as a guest said on the show, it just takes one yes, and I haven’t gotten it yet. I have a spreadsheet that shows the jobs I’ve applied to over the past several years, and sometimes it blows my mind how many jobs that is.

    I could blame lots of factors, including myself, but in the end blame doesn’t matter. It’s what I do next that matters.

  • Gloria Hausser

    I am a 63 years old professional with an MBA who has worked all my life, been a single mom and took care of everyone in the family. Now I have rented my house and moved in with my daughter. I resent the caller who suggested that we are unemployed because we won’t take jobs beneath us. I have applied for jobs that only need high school-real junk jobs but not chosen. I can shave a few years off my age but no way could I look 40. The company I worked for collapased in 08. I have sent out thousands of resumes, made calls, networked, followed leads, attended workshops and support groups. I work hard at keeping my attitude positive bus some days I just want to either start working or just not wake up.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Jeffe, isn’t that what artists do? Work for free until somebody starts to buy it? You find something nobody else does just like that, and if you’re right, it’ll find its niche. In the case of the artist, it is presumably a choice. In the case of an unemployed person (myself, going back a long ways), it is not a choice. But you can start to do what you do best, assuming you analyze the situation that this is needed, or you eventually get real sick. Sitting there and feeling unneeded is hardly a solution.
    Most people in trade schools are “working for nothing,” but generally angling for jobs that already exist. Right now there is an actual lack of jobs, and every prospect for further jobs going overseas.
    You can either do something of value and start angling for it to be recognized and paid for, or you can give up.

  • JS from NY

    Cheap money for large corporations (100 year bonds!), much less for Small Businesses and families.

    more from the Times:
    “According to the financial data provider Dealogic, United States companies have borrowed $488 billion on the American high-yield and investment grade bond markets so far this year, 7 percent more than businesses borrowed during all of 2009, and on track to at least match the $589 billion borrowed in the boom year in 2007, which was the highest on record.

    Smaller companies continue to have trouble borrowing, and most of the new financing is limited to bigger corporations.

    Their borrowing spree is in contrast to America’s households, which continue to cut their debt and consumption. Perhaps unsure of the recovery, like the corporations hoarding cash, Americans are saving far more than they have in years, and some economists fear that consumers’ frugality will further hobble growth.

    Conditions have become so good that some companies are borrowing money they will not have to repay until the next century. In August, the railroad Norfolk Southern Corporation borrowed $250 million in 100-year bonds at an annual rate of 5.95 percent.”

  • LIZ

    After reading all this I think redistribution of the wealth is inevitable. Companies that outsource, executives that got huge bonuses, even homeowners that sold at the height of the market — all should give something back to get us on our feet again.

    Perhaps something like this would help: a very simple corporate tax that allows them to deduct U.S.-based expenses (i.e. American labor & materials, dividends paid to citizens) but not those purchased abroad. Just an idea.

  • Corey

    Bill Bracy is correct in his statement that education is the key to adapting an individuals post unemployment problems into future success. I love how people are unwilling to acquire new (technical) skills, and are above employment that doesn’t meet their previous triple figure salary. Get real, wake up, this is the state of the world we live in. You won’t get a job from the previous triple figure background (theres a reason you were fired), and you will get felt up at the airport. If I managed to obtain a job during the worst economic recession since WW2, in one of most poverty stricken jobless areas in the US (Buffalo NY), anyone can do it with significant effort. Let me clarify, success ONLY followed because of a willingness to accept a pay cut, and continue education. It beats the alternative of remaining unemployed, not accepting lower paying jobs, and complaining about some one needing to do something about the situation (except you, of course).

  • Hillarion of Sudbury

    I’ve just read through the comments, and nobody has yet said that the Republicans (and probably a few blue dog Democrats) are likely to vote against extending unemployment comp. because they are fanatically determined to destroy the reputation of our President. Dragging what’s left of the USA further down the rat-hole doesn’t really matter to them — yet.

    A modern WPA? Are you kidding? Pathological selfishness has infected too many of the wealthy, although afaict not a few of them are decent people.

    People tend to get upset when some of us say the USA is becoming a third-world country. Arianna Huffington and George Soros came here because they thought the USA was a great country. It used to be, and some greatness still lingers.

    I’d say we haven’t yet had our counterpart to Kristallnacht. I hope we won’t, but don’t count on it.

    A little-recognized addiction is acquiring more wealth…

    I’m very fortunate to be almost 75, living in very nice rent-sub low-income housing, but when Social Security disappears, life will become Interesting, as in the Chinese saying about the times one lives in.

    As a sidelight, in the late 80s and early 90s, while not going through the charade of seeking work, I spent time at the local city library (I lived really close) learning to translate Japanese, although I had just barely enough knowledge to teach myself. I had discovered the Nelson dictionary; it took me roughly half an hour per sentence, and even then, I was not sure that I had the sense of the original text correct.

  • JS from NY

    Corporations have the cash yet would rather not pay living wages for skilled work:

    from LA Times via Seattle Times:

    Corporations have the cash to hire; why won’t they?

    “…Chamber of Commerce-types overemphasize doubts about the strength of the economic recovery, the prospect of higher federal taxes and the costs of government initiatives such as health-care reform.

    Some aren’t above suggesting that American workers have simply become too lazy to get off unemployment and do some real work.

    That was the theme of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal quoting several business owners marveling at the dearth of applicants for skilled job openings. But you had to do some math to find a clue to why this might be.

    One business was looking to pay $13 an hour for machinists. That works out to about $27,000 a year (assuming paid vacation), or about the federal poverty line for a family of five.

    It’s possible the business owner couldn’t possibly afford to pay a penny more. Or he might be thinking that with unemployment nosing 10 percent, he could try bidding down.

    But the article also quoted him saying his company could grow sharply if it only had the personnel, so perhaps he should consider bidding up.

    Broadly distributing the fruits of economic growth is the only way to sustain that growth.

    Ford Motor understood that as long ago as 1914, when it raised its daily wage to $5. The company’s new living wage all but eliminated absenteeism, built workplace loyalty and helped create a huge new market for automobiles. You want to call Henry Ford a “socialist” for implementing this idea? Go right ahead.

    advertising

    Corporate America, in the aggregate, has the apparent capacity to do the same today. The Federal Reserve reported in June that nonfinancial companies were holding cash totaling more than $1.8 trillion, having built up their hoards at a rate unmatched in more than 50 years.

    That’s a lot of money being held out of the economy, dwarfing what the government stimulus program is putting in.”

  • JS from NY
  • Dave

    NY Times today

    “Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter
    By CATHERINE RAMPELL

    American companies had their best quarter ever, according to a report that also showed the nation’s output growing faster than initial estimates.”

    Keep voting in those Republicrats who know where to send the money as they try to engineer our recovery from Washington/The Federal Reserve.

    Corporate America should have crashed on the rocks and suffered. But we let the Republicrats bail them out, and now we are surprised that they are not chastened.

    These are not free markets. After the banks and wall street and whoever else failed in a truly free market, we would get new jobs doing truly valuable, useful things again.

    Instead we let the Government collude with Corporatists with no consequences for that class, and we have a NON-LIBERTARIAN Plutocracy that is not diverse or organic enough to create jobs.

  • JS from NY

    “The only important question is: “What are they doing with the money?”

    One thing they’re not doing is lavishing it on personnel, though some have taken steps to help shareholders. At least 135 companies in the S&P 500 jacked up their dividends in the first half of this year.

    Obviously there’s no way to force employers to hire more workers or to give the ones they have better pay, any more than there’s any way to force bailed-out banks to use their money to make loans.

    But funneling corporate wealth to shareholders at the expense of the workers who create that wealth isn’t any smarter today than it was 10 years ago, when it got us into this economic fix, and it sure won’t lead us to a brighter tomorrow.”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2012735421_hiltzik29.html

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Tiffany @ 10:31
    Check out a web site called Innocentive.com, They post “challenges” from seekers on a variety of topics for which they pay “rewards” if you are a successful solver. No guarantees, but it can be done on-line. A friend I referred was awarded $10,000 for his solution which helped a company figure out how to map crops in a field. My only regret is he failed to “credit” me when he signed up and so I missed out on $500 referral bonus! I hesitate to give out my email address so here it is in clues. My initials are paramount, I call myself an inventor, I really meant to incorporate myself years ago and I use the hottest email site on the web (at least for a 50 something). That sentence contained three clues to the first part of my address, each yields three letters, the first set is the first of three different names, the next two are consecutive letters and the last part is obviously the site. It’s all there, so if you sign up I would appreciate the credit. It doesn’t cost you anything, it is an extra bonus from them to me if you become a successful solver. I think there are other sites out there as well. Good luck for your future, and as for the idiots suggesting “make babies” with your time, tell them “that sounds nice, but are you willing to provide their day-care etc., etc., etc…..” charles

  • Marc

    Surprisingly few posts on illegal immigration. But as one person pointed out, 12 million in this country and it’s increasing. My nephew’s a general contractor who hires illegals. He’d rather not do so, but told me they’ve depressed the pay scale so much that he can’t submit competitive bids without them. As soon as his competitors stop hiring them, he will. And the groups most affected are the ones most in need. Unemployment certainly is not all their fault, but it’s a big contributor.

    I frequently hear those on the left (and osme on the right) say they are so sympathetic to those without a job. However, when it comes to aggressively controlling our borders and setting up disincentives for hiring illegals, this gives way to their personal philosphy. Easy to be sympathetic until it conflicts with your bias.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Please understand the differences between Libertarianism and Socialism/Corporatism/Keynesism. The latter, with its centralized power and corrupt collusion will flip back and forth between Socialism and Corporatism depending on the elites, but neither will provide for true liberty or opportunity for individuals. Last I checked, unless you are a fat cat or politician, you were an individual.

  • get educated

    @Larry and jon. “Almost all” H-1B visas are given to science related jobs, IT, scientists, professors, doctors, etc…. Our country doesn’t produce enough science competent people to fill all our technology jobs (depending on where you live). Latest numbers from KIDSCOUNT.org show that our 8th grade public education kids are only 33% proficient at state math requirements (2009) and only 27% (2005) proficient in sciences. How can anyone expect these kids to one day spur and lead innovation? Are all our tech leaders going to be private school kids? If we didn’t import the talent then we wouldn’t have many of tech jobs we have today. No visiting neurosurgeons, less professors, no scientists at all our tech firms, etc…. H-1B visa holders help create jobs in America despite what you think. We are ignoring our own population and this will get worse. In an ever growing technological society, how can we ever hope to compete if we don’t fix this. The next great recession will be of intellectual talent. We will be hostage to the rest of the world.

  • JS from NY

    Marc report your nephew.

  • jeffe

    Ellen being in trade school is not working for nothing.
    How do you come up with this kind of analogy?
    First off artist don’t work for nothing. The make something and sell it. If they keep making work and it does not sell they are not a working artist, and they are going to starve. Please be realistic. What you are advocating is not a solution. These are mature people who are out of work and they are running out of time.

    And Corey, you’re lucky. How many people did not get hired who are still looking who are doing just what you are and did? There are 5 or more people applying for every available job right now. That means 4 people did not get hired. Try thinking.

  • Sheila Newtown

    I was wondering about the last caller to comment. It is amazing how self-righteous people can get because they had to do something difficult. Guess what- people have been doing anything to get along in this country for years.I worked at a job I hated for years to help my family along,have never been on unemployment, but that doesn’t spur me to whine because others have. I do think there could be a better job done at ferreting out fraud,but just because an individual needs help I guess I can’t despise them for that. As for this situation many people find themselves, in not being the caller’s doing, its the fault of a whole generation that got comfortable, didn’t bother paying attention, and didn’t care until they were affected. They worshiped business,so didn’t bother to demand anything of it: no transparency, no loyalty to the country that allowed them astounding wealth, no fair play. We were all enablers of this wreck and as long as all you dwell on is your taxes and your own victimization, I can’t find too much sympathy for you.

  • JS from NY

    now that we’ve glanced at those ‘illegals’, can we get back to where the money is?

    The CORPORATIONS!

    Corporate giants borrow, hold
    Low interest rates meant to stimulate the economy hurt many retirees while allowing businesses to stockpile cash

    By Graham Bowley
    The New York Times
    Published: Monday, Oct 4, 2010 05:02AM
    http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/business/25364531-41/companies-borrowing-corporations-money-economy.csp

    The Great Recession Ended in June 2009, But Corporations are Prolonging It On Purpose

    “…Did everybody get that? Corporate profits WENT UP 57% while wages and salaries WENT DOWN 2%. The normal way for employers to respond when a they experience recovery is to hire new workers, recall laid off workers, and restore hours that were cut back to existing workers. In this way, the recovery is passed around the whole economy as households begin to regain spending power and can once again buy goods and services from other businesses. But what happened this time was that corporations started to regain their profits and simply… kept them. And they are still keeping them, almost two years after their profits began to rise again.”

    “…So, if corporations are hoarding cash, the logical question to ask is… why? To what end would they be hanging on to profits and keeping the economy depressed and the jobless rate high? The easy, obvious answer would be that a suffering, angry population may well punish Democrats at the ballot box in November for failing to right the economy, but I think that’s a simplistic analysis. It’s far from a sure thing that voters would overwhelmingly vote Republican, especially since the GOP has not managed to come up with any new ideas in the past two years.

    I really think that corporations are stockpiling cash in part so they can take advantage of the Citizens United decision, funneling mighty rivers of cash into advertising (without their names associated, of course) with the intent of influencing voters toward the GOP. Then, if the Republicans regain control of the House or Senate, or both, employers will probably start rehiring, increasing hours, and creating jobs, so as to underscore the amazing effectiveness of the GOP at jump-starting the economy.

    My conclusions here could be wrong, of course. But the data on which I’ve based them is definitely right. So if you think I’m wrong, tell me your theory of why American corporations aren’t doing their part to help their country recover.”

    http://bluewavenews.com/blog/2010/09/21/the-great-recession-ended-in-june-2009-but-corporations-are-prolonging-it-on-purpose/

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Jeffe, I was 43 when I lost a job I’d had all my life. I do know what it’s like to be in this situation. I know that the advice I was getting (a) from money managers — to lay low and do nothing for the next 60 years, live cheap and do not stretch; and from career advisors (spend more than I could afford for education that would lead to another job I did not like and would therefore not do especially well) — all that was useless.
    What I did learn was that lots of parts of my life that turned out to be folly fell away. People that I had tried to please were no longer part of the picture. They turned out to be decorative, not existential. The way I used time changed. The way I used energy. I got to shape my own goals, march to my own drummer. You can’t do this if you’re in a specific job. I always had needed more money than my specific job provided, so I knew how to live cheap and earn what I needed here and there. It was from that long experience of knowing how to get an extra dollar that I began to piece things together. If the corporations aren’t going to start hiring again, what else can you do? I mean, you can only spend so many hours a day applying for this and that; in my case it was clearly a waste of time, and this seems to resonate with what a lot of unemployed in this thread are also saying. There are not enough jobs to go around. This seems to be a long-term issue.

  • get educated more

    Immigration is a non-issue. Most American’s won’t do the jobs for long enough. Yes, it will be a quick fix, but would you really stop taking unemployment benefits and lose your residence for these jobs? Because if your employer is honest s/he will have to take taxes from your pay, etc. Then are you honestly saying you would stay in these jobs when the market turns around? Of course not.

    Here’s the parallel. You can’t go over your state line to look for work. You can only look for work in your state until everyone in the good state is employed first. It would be illegal if you cross RI to look for work in MA. You just have to wait, oh let’s say 7 years or so. Can you survive the wait? If you could then obviously you’d be waiting. Get it? Mexico and many other countries don’t want or know how to fix their economy so everyone leaves to survive. Yes there are bad apples, but for the most part this is you and me, the current long-term unemployed on a shoe string. Isn’t it?

  • Larry

    @ Charles A. Bowsher

    What a great idea. Have to try anything to survive these days. Thanks.

  • http://www.warblerwoods.com Henry

    Interesting comments here, folks. Now here is what we need to do. Those who are basically happy with the direction we’re heading, those who feel that the unemployed somehow are getting what they deserve and that this is their fault & now they need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps even more, need not read what I’m about to say. The rest of us need to work at changing the narrative in this country, including – especially – the narrative out there in the media, courtesy of the right wing think tanks. They are following the “strict father” model only. They had no problem with Bush because the words he said fit with that, “we don’t need a permission slip to invade Iraq” etc. Forget “the truth will set you free” the right does not care about facts or the truth, they care about narratives, THEIR narrative and who they “identify” with. If we can turn the narrative around and make this new Republican house of representatives the “deadbeat dads” who refuse to pay their way, the dues we all gladly give to be members of this society we live in, something demonized as taxes/ through the “need” for tax “relief” over the past 30 years, we can own the narrative once again. It takes time, hard work and lots of effort. The right’s been at it since Goldwater’s loss & are masters at it. We through fact upon fact at them at our own peril. We need to change the story & feed that story to the media so they are on our side. And forget “moving to the right” or moving to the “center!” The right never moves further to the left or center to win elections, but actually further to the right as they just did a few weeks ago. This isn’t rocket science. We can do this. Even those unemployed can “work” at this as it’s all to our shared benefit. And once we change the narrative, the right will come along. Clinton did it by coming up with the phrase “welfare reform.” The right was outraged, but he managed to get action & a surplus in the government – but don’t bother to tell the right. They won’t believe it anyway.

  • Larry

    @Larry and jon. “Almost all” H-1B visas are given to science related jobs, IT, scientists, professors, doctors, etc….
    Posted by get educated

    Not true. I can personally name about 40 people, probably more if I think hard, who are here working on H-1B visas and not one of them is in IT, science, education, medical etc. They are in design and advertising and marketing, a field where the unemployment rate of US citizens is in the two digits. They are not special at all. Just foreign. They should be sent home now.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Steve @ 10:28
    Yes, I still consider myself an American citizen, but I am seriously contemplating becoming “An American Corporate Citizen” since they seem to have more rights nowadays!

  • get educated

    @Larry. They are lying to you. You also need to call UCIS and back up your words. They have to find another job, change their status, or leave the country within 10 days. http://www.usimmigrationlawyers.com/resources/immigration-law/working-us/what-happens-h-1b-visa-holder-loses-their-job

    Walk the talk Larry. Turn them in.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Will @ 10:27
    Perhaps you can give me some advice. I have lived for 13 years in a 40 year old neighborhood that is subject to sewage backups during “rain events”. Before I moved in the city installed a “back-flow” valve in my front yard to stop the problem. It and the subsequent replacement (installed by the city) have failed four times in the thirteen years I have lived here. Each time my basement has been inundated with six to nine inches of sanitary/storm water. Each time the city has claimed “I must not have been maintaining my back-flow valve properly” or one employee even had the nerve to say I “must have flushed my toilet which caused the valve to open and let in the sewage/rainwater mix” into my home. The city has denied my claims (each in excess of $10,000) via “Sovereign Immunity” (SI). My question to you is, while researching on-line I discovered some similar SI cases from Canada where the homeowners were able to thwart the SI claim because the city involved had failed to enforce its own ordinances which prohibited direct sump pump to sewer line hook-ups. The city involved actually performed smoke tests to determine illegal hook-ups but then failed to enforce the ordinance. My city has done the exact same thing, but the attorneys (friends) I have approached with my theory are two to one against it, they think it won’t go anywhere. My other theory is that because they have allowed a lot of commercial development “upstream” from us our system is overloaded and their “cost-benefit” analysis tells them that they will collect more in property taxes than from the dozen or so homes they are now planning to buy out and tear down and that to correct the problem will cost tens of millions of dollars instead of only a couple of million. I am chronically un/underemployed so I can’t buy another home. Any suggestions?

  • get educated

    @Larry. My apologies to you. I thought they were out of work.

  • Larry

    @Larry. My apologies to you. I thought they were out of work.
    Posted by get educated

    No, they are the ones who still have the job while the American has been laid off.

  • Dave

    “H-1B visa holders help create jobs in America despite what you think. We are ignoring our own population and this will get worse. In an ever growing technological society, how can we ever hope to compete if we don’t fix this. The next great recession will be of intellectual talent. We will be hostage to the rest of the world.”
    Posted by get educated, on November 23rd, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Baloney. Necessity is the mother of all invention. We are just too lazy, corrupt and politically-correct to set the stage for necessity.

    Responding to necessity made this country great. Now others are doing it, while we try and insulate ourselves from it at all costs.

    Honest work brings dignity and honest results. We have been living in a debt-bubble house of mirrors-consumeristic ponzi scheme for too long. It’s sick and dysfunctional, and the global financial schemers have fleeced us for the sheep we are.

    Demanding smaller government in order to remove power from the Democrat/Republican/Corporatist colluders, and expecting more from ourselves at the state and local level is the most pragmatic thing we can do to try and regain a semblance of dignity and sustainability.

    Stop letting the Keynsian Globalizers pull the wool over our eyes. Take your country back. Doesn’t sound so crazy does it?

  • self employed -not

    I am grateful for this program, the discussion is very helpful. I am an architectural designer in the Boston area. I want to mention a problem that is unique to freelancers and “self-employed” I believe many people besides me have worked as self employed because my/our employer preferred not to pay payroll taxes (or benefits). I/we assumed responsibility for my own taxes and my own unemployment insurance. Unfortunately I was not required to purchase unemployment insurance for myself and I didn’t do it. When I was laid off I was on my own. I have used my savings (including retirement) to maintain my existence with nothing left for education or training.
    Here’s my problem, after 26 weeks and then 52 weeks, I no longer accept that having unemployment insurance is a resonable way to decide who is entitled to benefits, and who is not. After 52 weeks the insured has received twice the benefit they were contracted to collect. I support extension of these benefits but after 52 weeks it is no longer appropriate to pretend that this is an unemployment insurance benefit. After 52 weeks I am just as unemployed as you. It hurts me as much as it hurts you and my need is no less than yours. I have been out over 2 years.
    There are many assistance and training programs for persons collecting unemployment insurance. The Massachusetts division of unemployment assistance is the logical gateway for these programs, but what about the self employed.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    ““An American Corporate Citizen” since they seem to have more rights nowadays!”

    I hope you thank the Republicrats for that. Corporatism is not possible without government collusion and cronyism to rig the game and suppress competition.

    Big difference between capitalism and corporatism. Smaller difference between corporatism/socialism/fascism, which flaps around between the power elite of the day.

    How does one prevent a centralized power elite? A Constitution that places the individual and his/her protection at the center.

    Too bad we think that’s a romantic, or worse, nutty, idea these days.

    But socialism based on central planners spending from central banking money tree, not on evil individual people who create value through work, innovation and risk, that’s good sense.

  • http://warblerwoods Henry

    I’m self-employed too, self employed-not & these issues concern me too. Sounds like the system is not designed to handle those who are self-employed. Good luck! Sounds like we’re all going to need it, the self-employed even moreso perhaps. Though the self-employed do have the skills to make it on their own. But the economy must cooperate too.

  • JS from NY

    @self employed -not

    Perhaps there is a funding source for your business via govt. investment. I Goldman Sachs or IBM are able to get virtually free loans perhaps you can too. these links may have at the very least some practical advice:

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/smallbusiness/a/massbusiness.htm

    http://search.business.gov/startLoans.html

  • John Sims

    I have a number of friends and family that have been laid off over the past few years and I have as well. In response to the comment about taking a minimum wage jobs, many companies refuse to hire people that have degrees or are “over qualified.

  • http://warblerwoods Henry

    Hey, Thomas J,

    What are you trying to say here?! I’m confused…

    Henry

  • Larryl

    I have a number of friends and family that have been laid off over the past few years and I have as well. In response to the comment about taking a minimum wage jobs, many companies refuse to hire people that have degrees or are “over qualified.
    Posted by John Sims

    Why would they hire them when they know from day 1 they will be looking to leave and there’s so many who don’t have any degree they can hire?

    These holier than thou people need to get a grip that professionals are too proud to take these jobs. THEY CAN’T GET THEM!

  • Carly

    Fort Wayne, IN

    The poor people, like me, are working their butts’ off, they HAVE to if they even want to EAT.

    The unemployed you are talking about are not waiting in bread lines, they have plenty of savings or they would be working minimum wage jobs just to survive. They need to lower their standards if they want jobs, they are out there, but these people are unwilling to do so, so I have no sympathy.

  • Jennifer W

    One thing that might help as a temp job, and one that would allow you to still search for a job is to substitute teach. The requirement in California is a BA degree IN ANYTHING and then pass the C-BEST test which is very basic. You don’t have to be in a credential program or anything like that.

    In Ca it pays about $100 per day for about 6 hours of work and its flexible so you can still job hunt. They did lay-off a lot of teachers, but we always need subs. At my school, we’re often short subs. Like today. I had to go home sick and teachers had to give up their prep periods to cover my classes. That could have gone to a sub and they prob would have gotten the full day pay (half day is $50).

  • http://ThousandOaks,California Jennifer Wohlers

    One thing that might help as a temp job, and one that would allow you to still search for a good job is to substitute teach. The only requirement in California is a BA degree (in anything) and then to pass the C-BEST test which is very basic.

    In Ca it pays about $100 per day for about 6 hours of work and its flexible and often automated so there is no guilt in rejecting jobs if you had an interview somewhere. When I was a sub, I signed up with about 5 different districts and usually had to turn down conflicting jobs.

    It’s true that they did lay-off a lot of teachers, but we always need subs. At my school, we’re often short subs. Like today, for example, I had to go home sick and teachers had to give up their prep periods to cover my classes. That could have gone to a sub and they prob would have gotten the full day pay but we were short subs (half day pay is $50).

  • http://k2performance.net Sharon Hamersley

    You can avoid the “unemployed” label by doing the following things:
    1) Start your own company…do what you did as a self-employed person. (see my business web site above…)
    2) Volunteer in a leadership capacity. Offer your services to a non-profit. Their monetary contributions are down, and anything they don’t have to pay for is invaluable to them.

    These activities solve the resume gap problem…you are currently employed even if not for pay, and your skills and work ethic can’t be questioned.

  • Chris Martin

    Is there a trend in age demographics? I’m 24 and have worked many different jobs from service industry to non-profits. I’ve noticed that myself and most of my peers (mid twenties with a Bachelors degree) are very diversified and have great social networking skills. We also have less dependents and willing to work for peanuts. Is my generation more prepared and better adaptable for this unemployment boom?

  • Jennifer W

    Also, the caller who was angry about people not taking minimum wage jobs to look for better jobs might not have been giving all the details. If his wife worked as a teacher for 20 years then she has a pretty good retirement built up. And also, why would she waitress rather than substitute teach, especially if she wanted to resume her teaching career?

  • Thomas Jefferson

    While we all look for minimum wage jobs, lets not forget to keep our sense of outrage at the banking and wall st. and government crowd who created, and profited from our recent ponzi scheme bubble. Not from a free market, but from a corrupted market with collusion between the Federal Reserve, Fannie Freddie, Mortgage bankers and Goldman Sachs types. That plutocracy drove us into the ground, and there has been NO ACCOUNTABILITY!

    How they walk down the street without looking over their shoulder (if they even do), I do not know.

    The #1 gripe against Obama is he has done NO calling out about the true malefactors, and has pursued NO accountability. For this reason I am further convinced he is just part of the big act of the Republicrat corporatists who switch between big government and big corporate agendas, whichever panders to the country’s reactionary mood at the time, all the while maintaining the elite, one world government-corporatist scheme.

    Liberty was a good idea for a reason. And it has been historically rare for a reason.

    We need to get real and take the country back from the power elite, by shrinking government and stepping up locally, becoming more self-sufficient as individuals, communities and states.

    That is not radical, but as I see it, the only way to reign in the absolute power that has corrupted absolutely.

    That is why trying our best to achieve self-sufficiency instead of trying to build a massive centralized entitlement state is the only way, difficult and uncertain as it is, forward.

    The more power you give away to governments or corporations, the more beholden we will be.

    It just is not necessary. Don’t buy the argument that we HAVE to have a massive government that provides for our security, other than military defense.

    Think globally act locally
    Progressive Values, Libertarian principles

    Protecting Liberty has to be job 1. When we are free and self-empowered, then we can help others around us, be it neighbors or countries.

  • http://www.fortyplusoh.org Sharon Hamersley

    Please let Sheila Egan know about 40+ of Central Ohio. We are a non-profit outplacement service for professionals and have been in business since 1982. She is welcome to contact me directly — I have been a Board and active member over the last 10 years. My cell # is 614-395-9440.

    Columbus, Ohio WOSU AM

  • Take 95 % of a Billionaire’s assets causes less harm than 1 LT unemployed person

    It causes less suffering to take 95 % of a
    Billionaire’s assets than it causes to make
    one working person face long term unemployment.

    Consider :

    If a billionaire had 95 % of their assets
    taxed away, this would leave them with
    $50 MILLION. They will still be rich,
    their children and grandchildren will still
    be rich. They need not work a day in their
    lives. They will continue to live very
    comfortable lives in a nice mansion with
    healthcare, education and all the necessities
    of life, and also a great many luxuries.
    Their pride may be slightly scratched
    but otherwise they will be fine.
    In the end, they will still keep probably
    much more than their overall contribution
    to society ever made them deserve.
    If you’re worried that this will reduce
    the incentive of people to innovate and strive
    hard, I’d say – show me the statistics.
    I’d bet you could get plenty of very smart,
    very skilled people to work very very hard for
    1/10 of what they’d be allowed to keep.
    50 Million dollars is plenty of money to
    motivate almost anyone to do legitimate work
    activities.

    The one long term unemployed person however
    risks losing almost everything – their identity
    as a working person, their home, their health,
    many of their friends, an education and future for
    their family – almost everything.

    So it is FAR less cruel to tax away 95 % of a
    billionaire’s assets than to let ONE American become
    one of the long term unemployed.

    Public policy in our democracy should be changed
    to reflect this fact.

    Tax the assets of the ultrarich.
    Create programs to directly create jobs, and
    to directly protect and improve the jobs
    we have.
    America’s government should work for the bulk
    of it’s people, not the few at the top or
    foreign business interests.

  • Dave
  • twenty-niner

    “It causes less suffering to take 95 % of a
    Billionaire’s assets than it causes to make
    one working person face long term unemployment.”

    Manny Pacquiao recently earned about $20 Million in his bout with Margarito. In your world view, how much of these earnings should he keep?

  • Eric

    Beyond Politics(both sides are corrupt), Poverty, and War. http://thevenusproject.com/

    Jobs will continue to be lost to technology, automation and slave labor for profit. I’s always about profit. The Monetary System is outdated and the root cause for most of our problems.

  • Rob (in NY)

    “It causes less suffering to take 95 % of a
    Billionaire’s assets than it causes to make
    one working person face long term unemployment.”

    Right. Lets destroy the US’ enterpreneurial culture and great companies,including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and countless others (as well as an incentive to start tomorrow’s great companies) by confiscating assets of the Founders. Success should be glorified and not stimatized. The government can then waste this wealth on jobs programs that do not create wealth. Spoken like a true Soviet!! I will not insult my liberal friends by associating them with this absurd statement.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff, Brooklyn NY

    Hi, Tom, I have been unemployed for almost 2 and a half years. I came back to the U.S. in December 2007 after living in Argentina for almost 3 years. I honestly don’t know how I survive or get by. It is a great big struggle for me. I have skills. I don’t need to go back to school to sharpen the ones I already have. I am an author, a translator (Spanish/English), a medical interpreter, a language teacher and a great cook and baker. My specialties are empanadas from Argentina, Italian and Russian food. Because I have no kitchen and can’t pay for the use of somebody else’s kitchen, I am unable to start a cooking/baking business.Honestly, at this point I don’t know what to do. And I have medical issues, like the urgent need of root canals (2 of them). No money for medical insurance. Eugenia Renskoff

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Larry @ 1156 – Please don’t forget to reference me….I’m still trying to get my $500 back.

  • Flowen

    My conclusions here could be wrong, of course. But the data on which I’ve based them is definitely right. So if you think I’m wrong, tell me your theory of why American corporations aren’t doing their part to help their country recover.”

    Posted by JS from NY, on November 23rd, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    Hi JS

    You’re on the right track, but as usual, the reality is even worse.

    The corporations already have plenty of money for political ad lies. Only 1% of Exxon’s recent annual net income (1% = $400 Million) is nearly equivalent to the cost of Dem and Repub party Presidential Campaign expenditures. Net income is what is left over after the managers have spent everything they can “legally” get away with spending on themselves, jets, travel, political expense, and generally maintaining the Status Quo for themselves.

    I believe they are not hoarding their profits, or their borrowings at <1% interest rates. They are doing with US $s what they did with the Jap yen in the 90s and early 2000s: they buy currencies in hotter offshore emerging economies and then invest it as local currencies in booming economies (Brazil, China, India, Russia, Iraq, etc etc) where they get 30% +/- easy returns, with an appreciating local currency value as an added bonus, just like they did to US up to 2007. No such pickings anymore in the US, so now they off-shore our capital, not just our jobs, and pay even less US tax.

    Further, they are setting us up for a Japanese style experience: it ends when these investments un-wind. When they re-pay those US$ based loans they will have to buy lots of US$s driving up the relative value of the US$ to the point that US exports will be impossible.

    As you may know, increasing exports is virtually the last ammunition and idea our government has to bolster the US economy; and that is the ostensible reason for the $600 Billion quantitative easing (plus funding corporate year-end bonuses) and Obama's recent international trips with his cadre of 200 Corporate Masters leading his way.

    As bad as it is, I hate to say, but the US is in an even worse place than it looks.

  • William

    The information economy has not been much of a long term job machine like the “rust belt” economy was for our country.

  • Jim

    I felt it and experienced it in 2002-2003. and from that moment, that experience is quite indelible in my mind. that is good and bad. the bad side is you cannot afford to take risk psychologically. worse, the employers, many of whom created the 2008 mess, know it. This country desperately needs good leadership who cannot take sides from the left and right. lastly, i do not see any future president can do what obama did however you may like or dislike him. He is willing to take political RISK.

  • Flowen

    Posted by Henry, on November 23rd, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    You’re right on!…except for one thing: the media is as invested in the Status Quo as the Group Of Psychopaths (GOP leadership) and the financial industry and all the other industrial complexes are. The media will ignore and distort you message.

    Other than that, you are right on…it is the only way to reverse this Race to the Bottom. But how is it done?…I don’t know…keep speaking the truth…but, may God help you if you become a threat to them.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Zappetite @ 10:12
    As someone who doesn’t know you, doesn’t really have a reason to care, I want you to know that I do care, please don’t take the steps you outline.
    You and your wife have accomplished wonderful things in the past, hold onto that, realize that you have done more good than you know, created important lasting value to this messed up world. I just watched the movie “Pay it Forward” this weekend and it helped rekindle my own optimism. Whether you realize it or not, you and your wife were a part of that. Please find a way to rekindle hope and optimism. Use the local library, borrow funny movies, learn to laugh again, I have found that even gallows humor can be helpful. Your life is important to me and to others you don’t even know yet.

    As a former claims adjuster I know first-hand the high level of stress your wife’s job entails. Being a long time unemployed (10+ years), well educated male I can fully identify with your feelings of shame and disillusionment as well. Please believe, as I do that things will get better. It may take a while, but it will get better.

    I take it that you don’t get out of the house much. If you spend much of your day on-line try joining some of the petition sites that are lobbying our world for various worthy causes. Doing something positive not only benefits the cause, but benefits us as well. There is another site called “Innocentive.com” that is seeking “solvers” for various problems posed by “seekers” (companies). The site is free of charge, a friend of mine was awarded $10,000 for something he submitted. I put more of a reference to this @11:35 today. Stay in touch through this website, or decode my email from the 11:35 posting.

    Talk to you later. charles

  • Flowen

    Rob (in NY)

    From your earlier post: I don’t think anyone is threatening violence. I think more and more people simply feel it is inevitably coming.

    If you have any influence with GOP friends, do what you can to back them down from a truly nightmarish trajectory.

    A big start would be to let the tax cuts on high incomes expire: rates have been lower, and incomes and wealth higher in these past 10 years (peaking in 2008) that in 90 years, and look where we are! How can lower tax rates for the ultra-wealthy be justified?

    Beyond that, help us work towards a true free market where innovation is rewarded and incentivized for all, not just the wealthy Master Gamers, Pols and Corporates.

  • h.g. clary

    Didn’t hear this show but will listen when I finish daily job searching. Did however, just hear the 2pm discussion on AM NPR on whether to tell friends and family if you’re too stretched economically to give decent gifts this holiday season. The laughter over this “dilemma” brings me close to tears. Perhaps the problem is that even those who make their living on their progressive credentials can’t even imagine that for most of the unemployed, so many of whom are highly skilled, educated, and eager to work, so many others who, just as eager, desperately need financially out-of-reach additional training, there is no longer a choice between credit card and cash; that everything in reserve, if there ever was anything, is depleted eventually once a job is lost in an economy like this one remains. There is no option to spend for anything other such limited essentials that, yes, it’s probably too painful for anyone else to spend much time thinking about. All of the employed are solvent,regardless of whatever reduced extent they may complain of, because someone else is living on an income wholly inadequate for even the essentials. Employment decisionmakers have little incentive to keep on or hire someone who hasn’t sufficient resources or connections to weather an economic storm; good management principles will weed out the bankrupts, defaulters, and foreclosed in favor of those merely temporarily displaced and living off accumulated resources, which indicate potential financial contributions to a potential employer. Unemployment benefits are so low as to be punitive and departments of labor have no incentive to involve themselves in largely futile job placement. It’s a vicious cycle in which the coldest of calculations are made regardless of consequences. There is an undercurrent of hostility, resentment, and suspicion of the unemployment that this segment reveals – things may be tough, so many continue to think, but there are always options. If friends and relatives don’t get it enough to see that no one should be giving gifts until anyone who wants a job has one, who will? How humiliated do the decimated ranks of workers have to be before we stop ignoring that we have, in effect, decided that some lives will be ruined in order that others will carry on quite nearly as they did in the best years. Ah, yes, it’s thus that our economy will revive, survive, and ultimately thrive until the next time. I dare someone to step up and offer wages in exchange for the dole and see how many turn it down. This holiday season, please pass the picks and shovels along with the cranberry sauce.

  • Kathy

    I am from the Boston area. After 21 years with the same company I got layed off. I was on unemployment for a year and then I was offered a position with a company that has been around since 1985, been on Inc. 500 fastest growing company list 5 times and has posted a substantial increase in business each year. I am in the position of looking for partners, if you are self-motivated and interested in a great opportunity let me know, my e-mail is kr2622@aol.com. This job can be done from your home, no need to relocate.

  • TJ
  • TJ

    The Killing and Reviving of the American Dream

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=1150

  • Margo

    @Cory, Leftfield WI: The correct answer is A, with a caveat. A dream lifts no one up – or at least not fully. Effort does. Who else should be expected to expend effort on me other than myself? Who should be expected to put me before himself? You? If you were to do so voluntarily, then I have no quibble. It is when the effort is coerced, when the effort is forced, when the effort is no longer a choice made by the individual that we enter into dangerous territory. Is that what we desire? Someone else making our decisions for us?

  • JS from NY

    @Flowen, on November 23rd, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Those were the words of the blogger I referenced;
    http://bluewavenews.com/blog/2010/09/21/the-great-recession-ended-in-june-2009-but-corporations-are-prolonging-it-on-purpose/

    but I concur with the hypothesis. Your additional analysis only makes more depressing sense.

    For some inspiration from the crest of the rust belt:

    Detroit Creperie Rises From The Wreckage (VIDEO)

    “…Weak demand in the Motor City’s sputtering real estate market enabled Blanchard to rent out space on the cheap. And her risky bet that the neighborhood would buy low-cost, high-quality crepes, a dish she says most locals had never even heard of, has paid off. Today, business is booming. Good Girls offers 40 different types of crepes, has expanded to a midtown location, and is about to open another spot.”

    “…In the first installment of The Huffington Post’s new video series on individuals who dove into entrepreneurship after losing or leaving their nine to five, we give you the story of Torya Blanchard and her Detroit creperie, Good Girls Go To Paris.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/23/detroit-creperie-rises-fr_n_787230.html

  • Jeff

    When I returned from my deployment with Operation Iraqi Freedom, I decided to get out of the Army. Before I knew it, I had applied unsuccessfully for over 50 jobs, despite my Bachelor’s Degree and Honorable Discharge. Eventually I gave in and took a job at McDonald’s. But after taxes, the cost of keeping my daughter in child care exceeded the full time wages as a fast food worker.

  • Bush’s fault

    During one of two separate years of unemployment I remember reading “no one cares that you are unemployed”. At first I was annoyed with the statement, but as the notion sank in, I figured, so what…I don’t care about them either…so now, I don’t care who is unemployed or for how long. Some people will never work again. That’s just the way it is and nothing can change that circumstance. I reinvented myself and by my wits went on to live the last 20+ years with less wealth than I would have preferred, but who cares?

    To cory’s quiz I would answer e) all of the above. No choice excludes the rest unless you get hung up on the meaning of “dignity” which is never the result of a government handout alone.

  • James Van Every

    Coral Springs Florida

    Doesnt ageism play a major part in the unemployment woes of many boomers?

    Specialization also plays a major role in highly technical positions. Employers are unlikely to hire an older person who needs training over the young kid who needs specific training, but has a lot more energy.

  • Cynthia Boucher

    I live in Charlotte, NC. I moved here 5 1/2 years ago for work; my company lost it’s contract, and here I sit, almost a year later. I am in the graphic arts, in the shrinking printing industry. My job is now being done, in a very amateur manner, in India. I am working on a freelance project for the contract “victor”; stuff that’s way beyond the overseas folk. It used to be when the company I worked for lost a contract, my talents would have been reapplied to another account or project, but since being swallowed by a “global” company, I’m just a line item to be dropped. What a waste. I don’t have a degree-only 28 years of experience, and most of it has to now be “certified” to be considered legitimate.
    Actually, I’m fine with free-lancing if I can get enough accounts. I don’t think I’ll ever trust a “big” company again. Forget any kind of company “ownership” or loyalty. The toughest thing right now is convincing my 20-year-old son that hard work and commitment are important to getting and maintaining a job, never mind getting an education.

  • Tom

    Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Penn
    MBA from NYU Stern
    Unemployed for two years.
    Worked for the census for six months for $14/hr.
    Currently working unpaid.
    Willing to try anything, go anywhere.

    Tom in NYC

  • Delia Windwalker

    Amazing constellation of issues. This topic needs far more than talk radio… I hope the conversation stimulates change!

    I am 53 re-entering regular employment after being an entrepreneur. I have a college degree (25 years ago). My strategy had to move toward volunteering for a non-profit that I had previously worked for. I am now applying for regular employment but I’ve only had responses from the non-profit sector where the competition for $12/hour jobs is with young people often with advanced degrees and recent internships on their fresh resumes. I’m finding that my home address is too far away from the on-call flexible workforce that non-profits want and I’ve taken geographical information off my resume. As mentioned by other folks tailoring each application with a unique resume and cover letter is the only way for a mature worker… and having a non-traditional career path has NOT been helpful.

    Some way to expand and subsidize volunteerism, which is expensive for the volunteer, would be a wonderful asset to the many non-profits that are struggling with fractions of their recent budgets and trying to maximize the scope of work each employee is expected to do! We need to look at the enormous needs in the services and concerns our non-profit sector is struggling to address in this tight economy.

  • LynneA.

    I am 50 yrs old and I have been unemployed for for almost 3 years. I was in new home sales for 7 years. The 2 last companies I was with laid everybody off.I sent out an average of 25 resumes per week via email.I have 4 differnt resumes. No wants to give snailmail or fax numbers anymore. Some I hand deliverd cheerfully.Hard to follow up. The following year I took ill. I still sent out resumes. My unemployment ran out along with my saving and 401k.In 2009 after being umemployed for 18 months I had a mental breakdown. I have not been unemployed since I was 16yrs old. Lucky I have husband and family,but still it is so difficult,because now is everything is left on my husband,who doesn’t complain much,but sure has put a strain on our marriage.

    I still send out resumes every now and then I now volunteer to keep my sanity.I think my age and job experience has alot to do with it.

  • Paul Sand

    On 11/23/10 between 8:30-9 pm in NJ Onpoint was discussing unemployment of Americans. Despite the various theories among Onpoint’s guests there was more verbiage than understanding of the massive American unemployment. Most of the guests have not taken cognisance of the basic and fundamental “cause” of the high American unemplopyment as serious Americans have. If they are aware, then they are afraid to say so.

    The fundamental “cause” of the unaccepatable high unemployment among Americans is not to do AGE as one caller talked about nor is it do to the LACK of jobs. It is do solely to IMMIGRATION. Liberal immigration of Asians, Indians, eastern Europeans and even the 12 million illegal aliens by corrupt US politicians. In 1932 FDR campaigned that immigration will be stopped 100% because American jobs are only for Americans. He won. After World War 2, Truman deported 14 million foreigners. In 1954 Eisenhower deported 5 million illegal aliens and put the military on the southern border.
    A country does not let foreigners in to take jobs when it cannot employ it’s own citizens. Any elementary economist will tell you that. It is the purposeful and malicious failure of the US Federal government, both Dems and Republicans, to deport these millions of Asaisn, Indians, etc and illegal aliens that is keeping the American people unemployed. It is the failure to take steps to revoke their US citizenship that was hastily given to these foreigners so they could take jobs; to deport them back to their own country; to put the military on the southern and northern borders as well as on the ports.
    That is why YOU don’t have a job.
    That is why YOU have been out of work for three or four or five years.
    That is why the American people do not feel better about themselves.

    Job creation is NOT what is needed. The jobs are there.
    What is needed is to deport those foreigners who have been allowed to take those jobs, jobs they received because the hiring managers discriminated against the American people. Further, the 1924 Immigration Act must be reinstated and Kennedy’s 1965 bill thrown out. The sooner this is done the sooner American will go back to work. Otherwise, the situation will get worse.

  • JS from NY

    @Paul Sand…

    We’ve moved on from your “its tha ‘illegals’” distraction and determined that its tha Cheap Labor Loving Conservatives…Got Meg Whitman?

    to wit:
    now that we’ve glanced at those ‘illegals’, can we get back to where the money is?

    The CORPORATIONS!

    Corporate giants borrow, hold
    Low interest rates meant to stimulate the economy hurt many retirees while allowing businesses to stockpile cash

    By Graham Bowley
    The New York Times
    Published: Monday, Oct 4, 2010 05:02AM
    http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/business/25364531-41/companies-borrowing-corporations-money-economy.csp

    The Great Recession Ended in June 2009, But Corporations are Prolonging It On Purpose

    “…Did everybody get that? Corporate profits WENT UP 57% while wages and salaries WENT DOWN 2%. The normal way for employers to respond when a they experience recovery is to hire new workers, recall laid off workers, and restore hours that were cut back to existing workers. In this way, the recovery is passed around the whole economy as households begin to regain spending power and can once again buy goods and services from other businesses. But what happened this time was that corporations started to regain their profits and simply… kept them. And they are still keeping them, almost two years after their profits began to rise again.”

    “…So, if corporations are hoarding cash, the logical question to ask is… why? To what end would they be hanging on to profits and keeping the economy depressed and the jobless rate high? The easy, obvious answer would be that a suffering, angry population may well punish Democrats at the ballot box in November for failing to right the economy, but I think that’s a simplistic analysis. It’s far from a sure thing that voters would overwhelmingly vote Republican, especially since the GOP has not managed to come up with any new ideas in the past two years.

    I really think that corporations are stockpiling cash in part so they can take advantage of the Citizens United decision, funneling mighty rivers of cash into advertising (without their names associated, of course) with the intent of influencing voters toward the GOP. Then, if the Republicans regain control of the House or Senate, or both, employers will probably start rehiring, increasing hours, and creating jobs, so as to underscore the amazing effectiveness of the GOP at jump-starting the economy.

    My conclusions here could be wrong, of course. But the data on which I’ve based them is definitely right. So if you think I’m wrong, tell me your theory of why American corporations aren’t doing their part to help their country recover.”

    http://bluewavenews.com/blog/2010/09/21/the-great-recession-ended-in-june-2009-but-corporations-are-prolonging-it-on-purpose/

  • JS from NY

    a bit off topic but gerund:

    Study Tallies Corporations Not Paying Income Tax

    By LYNNLEY BROWNING
    Published: August 12, 2008

    Correction Appended

    Two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

    The study, which is likely to add to a growing debate among politicians and policy experts over the contribution of businesses to Treasury coffers, did not identify the corporations or analyze why they had paid no taxes. It also did not say whether they had been operating properly within the tax code or illegally evading it.

    The study covers 1.3 million corporations of all sizes, most of them small, with a collective $2.5 trillion in sales. It includes foreign corporations that do business in the United States.

    Among foreign corporations, a slightly higher percentage, 68 percent, did not pay taxes during the period covered — compared with 66 percent for United States corporations. Even with these numbers, corporate tax receipts have risen sharply as a percentage of federal revenue in recent years….”-snip

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/business/13tax.html?_r=1

  • Sam Leggat

    I am unemployed. Eleven years ago I was starting in the job market (at the end of local recession). Both times I attended a job fair at a large conference center. Eleven years ago there were about 100 companies looking for workers for jobs ranging from house painting to paint chemists. Last month there were about 20 companies, half of which were training schools looking to enroll people in their curriculum.

    I found this to be extremely discouraging.

    I am experiencing all of the issues that are being discussed here. I am up side down and with debt that was very low when I was employed but now almost bankrupt. I’ve gotten rejects because I’m over-qualified, under-qualified, too many jobs over a period of time (10 year, 1 job), etc.

  • Stephanie Beckman

    I always hear about unemployment benefits running out. I am all for extending them, but what about those of us who don’t qualify? I lost my job 8 years ago. I worked for a non-profit organization and never qualified for unemployment. After my 12 week serverence ran out, I had to start withdrawing from my IRA (taking the penalties). I have returned to college TWICE to no avail. I am 50+ and disabled. When I get interviews, the interviewers spend their time trying not to look at my hands. I don’t get a second interview.
    It has been a nightmare. The only reason I have a roof over my head is because i found a position as an AmeriCorps volunteer which gives me a $200/week stipend.

    Stephanie Beckman
    Toledo, Ohio

  • LynneA.

    BY THE WAY I LIVE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. I WISH I COULD FEEL SORRY FOR ME,BUT 3 OF MY FRIENDS IN THEIR 50′S ARE IN THE SAME BOAT AS ME.

  • chris

    I have been employed, unemployed, and am now underemployeed. I have worked steadily since I was 13 yrs old and I babysat every afternoon from 3-11pm for a nurse who lived nearby. I am a hard worker, dependable, and am more than willing to to lend an extra hand during the times it is necessary. I was laid off for over a year after my last job replaced me with a younger, cheaper version. I finally started working again @ a year ago and found out 2 weeks ago my hours were being reduced – from 40 to 20 hrs per week. I am searching the job sites, asking friends and relatives about leads, “working” to find something new and all I see are seasonal-holiday jobs that will be gone in Jan and then what? So I have 1/2 a job, but the same amount of bills and I don’t live high on the hog. I am seriously considering that my best years are behind me and I am only 45. There are not enough jobs in this country to put 25 million people back to work and there will never be again if we continue down the road we, as a country, are heading.

  • Larry

    Reading these stories is horrible.

    It makes me so angry at people who still have their job blaming the unemployed.

    HOW HARD IS IT TO UNDERSTAND THIS COUNTRY LOST MORE THAN 8 MILLION JOBS!!!!!!

    You people who complain that it’s the unemployed’s’ fault better hope you don’t lose your job and can’t find another.

  • Leonard Caillouet

    I hear lots of blame being assigned to everything from democrats to republicans, and immigration to corporate greed. All of this is irrelevant if one is out of work. Anyone who is out of a job for years and finding blame in any place but his or her own perspective and behavior is simply missing the point. We live in a competitive society that attends not to reasons why one cannot work, but to action. In two years anyone who is willing can move from washing dishes to an assistant manager position in dozens of businesses in most cities. One could move from trivial office work to the role of analyst or programmer in many corporations. One can move from shovelling crap to managing those that do. I have done work beneath my education and intellect for many of the years that I have been in the work force. Life is hard for some, get over it. One does what one must, or one does not, this is a choice.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Zappetite @ 10:12 am
    See kathy at 4:21, I am planning on sending her an email, I think it might be worth your time. Stay in touch.charles

  • Paul Sand

    To prove my statements are indeed correct just read the lastest headlines: “UK imposes new permanent quota to reduce immigration”

    The US must go much further than quotas. It must deport the millions of Asians, Indians, and eastern Europeans that the liberal politicians let into the country. At the least, it must revoke their US citizenship to prevent these foreigners from taking jobs. The American people must demonstrate is need be. Remember, it’s YOUR job, YOUR future, YOUR life.

  • Ren

    The root of the economic meltdown, remember, was the Wall Street mortgage scheme. Remember, John Paulson convinced the wall street gang to devise complicated bond instruments so that he and others could bet against them. Paulson netted a billion dollars. How might a billion dollars be deployed to help the U.S.? It could establish a high speed rail line between two major Midwest cities. It could pay the average annual grocery bill for 250,000 families of four. It was a simple case of devising a legal method of stealing through speculation–and have the victims bailout the losers of the speculation. Public theft is also the name of the game with the current war profiteers (think Halliburton, etc.) and U.S. neo-colonial militarism. The problem is more complex, but one needs to look at the complex web of intersection of various forms of thievery.

  • JP
  • SM

    The problems of the unemployed are real. There are simply no jobs to be found so why so much hate instead of fellow americans being empathetic, helpful and understanding? This american is no longer one that I recognize. I am sickened by the lack of treating this as a national emergency. Our leaders need to do something NOW! President Obama, please give a speech asap, (next week?) and have unemployment as your only topic. We need to hear from you, and have you throw your support behind us! What is happening is not right!

    Plus, if I lose my home soon, my credit rating is in the toilet so I won’t be able to rent a new place to live. This is a nightmare.

  • Gail

    There are no definable differences between the Republicans and Democrats since BOTH parties are owned by their corporate handlers and financial campaign contributors.

    To continue with the left-right political discussion is illusionary.

    Wake up folks! Our government and politicians have been hijacked by special interests.

  • Zeno
  • http://NPR-WNYC Viviane

    I think what this story fails to report is the longer benfits are paid the longer people have a tendency to stay unemployed. There are true, sad stories I agree but I have about 10 people around me that have been laid off and they took their summers off and will go to the very end of the unemployement benefits before they get the sense of urgency to get a job.
    A lot of people feel they have been working hard and now it is their time to collect unemployment benefits.There is a true sense of entitlement.
    The best thing we can do it cut the lenght of coverage to create a sense of urgency. Many of the collegues that were laid off are extremely picky about their next job as they get money coming in every week. While I think there needs to be a way to help people in very dire situation, i think a lot of people are milking the system.
    Viviane, New Jersey

    • cg9

      I used to think somewhat like you do, but I have been applying religiously for jobs for six months, have taken no trips so I could be available to work, have been willing to work for 10-12 dollars an hour though I used to make $42, and have gotten only a few interviews and no work. 

      You cannot keep receiving unemployment benefits unless you apply for a minimum of three jobs a week and document them.  I don’t know who you know, but they don’t represent me.  

      And I don’t know how the long term unemployed are expected to keep going and going.  It’s humiliating and very discouraging.  I didn’t realize this fully until I experienced it myself.  If my husband did not have a job (which always seems in threat), I don’t know where we’d be.  So much for doing all the right things….

  • Mark

    And at the same time more and more people are losing money, prices on everything keep going up and up!

  • Cathy New Jersey

    I feel that the unemployment system fosters unemployment. If I do some part time work to supplement the 400 per week I get I will lose my benefit. I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. In my mind a bird in the hand is well you know the rest…. I am very disheartened and discouraged, I am a Librarian and we all know how towns, schools and states feel about library services. With the conditions that exist today it makes no sense to close libraries, lay off librarians and to deny the public access to information that is FREE and otherwise unavailable to them

  • To JS & Other Liberals

    Good for you. You move on.

    As a red-blooded American I prefer to stay behind and stop the massive unemployment among Americans. That will be done by revoking theeir US citizienship hastily given to millions of Asians, Indians and eastern Europeans. Secondly, they will be deported back to their own country. Third, the 1924 Immigration Act will be reinstated and Kennedy’s liberal policy thrown out. Fourth, to prosecute those companies in the High-Tech and Pharamceutical sectors responsible for discriminating.

    In 1776 the King of England tried to the same thing that big business is doing now to the American people. They were defeated. Big business discrimination against Americans will also be defeated.

    I’ve been picketing for 1 year now at ITT in Clifton, NJ. ITT like Harris, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman and Qualcomm, to name just a few, are
    nortorious for discriminating against Americans.

    As the United States Declaration of Independence clearly says: “AMERICAN JOBS R ONLY FOR AMERICANS.”

  • Karen – Westchester County NY

    Just wanted to say I loved listening to this show. I am employed at the same place for almost 20 years and am over 50 yrs old. I have always felt that there are jobs for those that want them only because I see Help Wanted signs various places as well as in the paper and Pennysaver. I also know people who 2 years ago when they got let go felt they “earned” the right to take some time off. Well guess what? Today they are still earning that right and complaining all the way. This didn’t help my attitude towards the unemployed. Its all I knew firsthand.
    Your show has shed light of a different color on my thinking and I thank you for that. It didn’t totally change my thoughts but it did add to them in a different way. I am blessed for my job and thank God daily for it. Keep airing such wonderful shows. Thank you.

  • Ali

    To John
    Thank you so much for doing this show. The high unemployment in this country is a topic that needs to be discussed on a much more personal level like this, and needs attention in order to demonstrate to the country and the government that it is the root of all our economic problems.
    The long term unemployed is not just the 40+ either. I am 28 and I have been job hunting for over a year while finishing my Masters degree. So far I have attended 2 conferences, three career fairs, and have lost count of the applications submitted and so far only one interview, and no offers. I even had a recruiter at a career fair literally laugh at me when I inquired about full-time work.
    It is a very hopeless and depressing situation to be unemployed right now.
    And to those that criticize about there being plenty of work waiting tables and other such jobs that pay next to nothing. Just keep in mind that it is very difficult to take such a huge step back career-wise and, to not be able to work in the field that you spent so many years building in skills and education.
    I fear of getting stuck and falling behind in my real career if I go back to serving coffee (my minimum wage career that got me through college).
    I hope that John does this show again in a few months to see where we are now as a nation.
    Thanks again.

  • jeffe

    To Karen – Westchester County NY, you are lucky and yo know what you are also very intolerant. You should start to think about what might happen to you if you lost your job. To think it can’t or wont happen too you is a fools errand. You make a snap judgment about the unemployed based on a few people you know who decided to take some time off after losing there jobs. Well that says a lot about who you are and how work is all for you. Some people like to have more in their lives other than work.

    I think this is an American sickness, we work way to hard and for to many hours for basically the same results as the Dutch or the Germans who work less hours per week than we do. One has to wonder about this.

  • Dave

    Progressives Should Target the Real Robber Barons

    Must Read!

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=1220

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  • DOA

    There is a huge impediment to employment for anyone who is currently out of a job, and we need to address it now. At the beginning of the 21st century, the hiring process was hijacked by computerized third-party on-line employee screeners, and they are now firmly in the driver’s seat. Companies like EmployeeScreenIQ get the online applications, NOT the company posting the opening. Their software filters out unemployed applicants and those who have had employment gaps, especially of several months or more. In the same way Black Friday in the stock market was triggered by massive automated sell orders, the automated hiring system is dumping a whole group of people off the face of the Earth. EmployeeScreenIQ in Cleveland is the major one, and they verify all the information on an application, run credit and background checks, education verifications, criminal records, tax problems, driving records, misdemeanors, felonies, insurance claims, injury reports, and social media scans for evidence of diversity skills. They store it and share it. Their system interfaces with HR departments all over the world. Each new application is checked against previous info. A risk ‘score’ is assigned. All this favors a young economically supported applicant without much history. Apply until you are blue in the face, but your application is DOA. The situation is far more hopeless for the long-term unemployed than most people have any idea.

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