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Monday, March 1, 2010

The New Poor: Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

As an older skilled worker "The New Poor:
Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs" article is just another illustration of the need for all job seekers to evaluate the current methods you are using to search for a new career or job. Are you still using 80's job hunting methods in 2010 such as posting on the Job boards or networking with just your Rolodex? Sometimes a system has to be shocked to change. Perhaps the sports adage "no pain no gain" has a place here.

BUENA PARK, Calif. — Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

Here in Southern California, Jean Eisen has been without work since she lost her job selling beauty salon equipment more than two years ago. In the several months she has endured with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check, she has relied on local food banks for her groceries.

She has learned to live without the prescription medications she is supposed to take for high blood pressure and cholesterol. She has become effusively religious — an unexpected turn for this onetime standup comic with X-rated material — finding in Christianity her only form of health insurance.

“I pray for healing,” says Ms. Eisen, 57. “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got to go with what you know.”

Warm, outgoing and prone to the positive, Ms. Eisen has worked much of her life. Now, she is one of 6.3 million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or longer, the largest number since the government began keeping track in 1948. That is more than double the toll in the next-worst period, in the early 1980s.

Men have suffered the largest numbers of job losses in this recession. But Ms. Eisen has the unfortunate distinction of being among a group — women from 45 to 64 years of age — whose long-term unemployment rate has grown rapidly.

In 1983, after a deep recession, women in that range made up only 7 percent of those who had been out of work for six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. Last year, they made up 14 percent.

Twice, Ms. Eisen exhausted her unemployment benefits before her check was restored by a federal extension. Last week, her check ran out again. She and her husband now settle their bills with only his $1,595 monthly disability check. The rent on their apartment is $1,380.

“We’re looking at the very real possibility of being homeless,” she said.

Every downturn pushes some people out of the middle class before the economy resumes expanding. Most recover. Many prosper. But some economists worry that this time could be different. An unusual constellation of forces — some embedded in the modern-day economy, others unique to this wrenching recession — might make it especially difficult for those out of work to find their way back to their middle-class lives.

Labor experts say the economy needs 100,000 new jobs a month just to absorb entrants to the labor force. With more than 15 million people officially jobless, even a vigorous recovery is likely to leave an enormous number out of work for years.

Some labor experts note that severe economic downturns are generally followed by powerful expansions, suggesting that aggressive hiring will soon resume. But doubts remain about whether such hiring can last long enough to absorb anywhere close to the millions of unemployed.

For complete New York Times story:


  1. I guess I would be curious as to what the subject has done in the last 2 years to increase employment value? It's long enough to get an associates degree, an LPN cert from a vocational school... lots of stuff.

  2. As someone who has been unemployed since August 2008 following corporate downsizing, I have picked up some freelance work, but nowhere near enough to make a living. I have an undergrad degree, worked at the same company for 14 years and am very experienced in my field. I have been on a ton of interviews, but I am competing against many others for the same job. I attend more networking events than I can count, and am constantly adding new contacts to my Linked In account. 70-80% of jobs are found by networking. Another maddening thing is that a company will post a job, but not act on it for several weeks for even months. I am just getting interviews now for jobs I applied for back in November, December and January. For one job, I was brought back for a second interview. When I followed up with the hiring manager, she said I was still in the mix, but that they hit a budget snag!!! This is a world-wide company with over
    110k employees!! Talk about frustrating! I have even gone to the extreme of applying to my local grocery store for a position at one of their new stores opening in June. That job pays $9.50/hour, a FAR cry from what I was making. But my unemployment ends in three weeks, and I will need something to help make ends meet. My husband gets disability and we have three kids. Luckily we live beneath our means so we have some savings, but we have dreams and goals, and not having gainful employment is draining our account.
    In the midst of all of this frustration is the gov't bailouts of the banks~~~~why can't we get a bailout?!?!?! We are the key to the economy, and we are getting the short end of the stick! I heard that the gov't is passing legislation for another extension, and frankly, they need to. Contact your representative and make sure they know your situation. If enough people complain, perhaps we will get the next bailout!

  3. Scott...just how was she supposed to get an associates degree or LPN certificate? Take out some student loans??? I'm sure you had her best in mind when you posted, but please think about what you're saying before posting.

  4. I can understand the situation. It is same bad all around the world.

    Govt need to take fast and realistic action otherwise tax payers will suffer.
    Why can't Govt come up with bailout plan for tax payers. Creat more jobs

  5. bailout smaleout. The thing America needs to to get the government at all levels out of our lives and wallets. You want prosperity? Flat tax to pay for national defense and nothing else. Read the Constitution people! The idiots in congress violate every time they show up to screw the country even more.
    Where did we ever get the idea that we are owed anything??
    Tar and feather the sob's.

  6. What about the millions who don't qualify for unemployment assistance?
    Is it fair that those who did get multiple extensions, while those who did not have been going through their savings for far longer?
    How do we help everyone?
    For example, people who started companies that did not work out. Small business provide the most new jobs. But if these business can't get loans and assistance many will fail; leaving the employer and staff jobless without access to unemployment benefits.


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