1sunfight’s Weblog

April 23, 2010

Things That Chap My Hide

At the end of January 2009 I lost my job.   At first, like many people who lose their job, I did not think it would take me more than six or seven months to find another job.  As it turns out I was very, very wrong.  It is nearly fifteen months and counting that I have been without a job and it looks as though there is no end in sight, so when I read over the following I just fumed.

Two years of unemployment benefits just isn’t enough for some jobless Americans.

Though Congress has extended unemployment insurance to an unprecedented 99 weeks, the safety net is not proving sufficient for hundreds of thousands of people who say they simply cannot find a job in this weak economy.

Currently I am in the third tier of federally extended unemployment insurance that means that I have been made eligible to receive 78 weeks of it.  For some, that is a long time, for me it is too as I have been looking for work diligently for in that period and really want to work, but cannot find work.  I am bored beyond belief and have started to suffer from long bouts of depression and worthlessness.  On that note, 78 weeks is too long, on the other hand, 78 weeks of unemployment benefits is not enough.  I still do not have a job.  I cannot live very long without some kind of income, even if it is unemployment insurance, although unemployment is not covering all of my bills anyway.  It is a very good thing I had a decent amount of money saved going into this, or I would have had my car repossessed long ago.  $1,100 to $1,200 a month is grossly insufficient.

Up to a million people could find themselves with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check by year’s end, according to preliminary estimates by advocacy group.

Of those one million, I would be one of them assuming I get the final fourth tier of federal unemployment insurance, and if I get the final 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits that I would have to apply for with the state in order to get.

“If you are subsidized to stay out of the workforce, many people will,” said Alan Reynolds, senior fellow at The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Spoken by someone who has a job in this job market, since it is not happening to them they have no way of knowing what it is really like to be unemployed today.  It is unfortunate for those of us who are unemployed that people like him influence power brokers who have the power over me to tell me if I can get more extensions.  Clearly, these people think I am lazy and do not want to work.

Even though the economy is creeping back to health, employers have not resumed hiring.

I have personally experienced seeing very few jobs available or times when I have seen next to none available.  To exacerbate the problem there are 5.5 people for every job available.  I have gone to job interviews where there are 14 people in the reception area waiting to be interviewed for one job, still others with 28 people.  I have gone to information sessions at the university I graduated from where there have been 200 people trying to get the internships available with the CDC.  Yes, I have put internships into my job search.

Others, however, argue that the reason there are so many people still out of work is because they have unemployment benefits to fall back on.  If they weren’t getting, they’d be forced to get a job.

“People think that when benefits run out, most people will still be unemployed,” Reynolds said.  But “most will accept jobs that are less than ideal shortly before benefits run out.”

The reason, Mr. Reynolds, so many people are out of work is because there are not enough jobs available.  It is not rocket science.  However, since you have a job you just do not know what it is like.  This week, as an example, I have been looking for a server or delivery job in the food and hospitality industry.  No one is hiring.  There are not even burger flipping jobs available.  In the last week I have burned up a tank of gas looking for a job only to get rejected to my face versus over the phone or via e-mail.

Though Labor Department statistics say there are 5.5 job seekers for every opening, Reynolds said there is work available if people are willing to relocate or take jobs in a different field.

I have interviewed for jobs in other states, as well, in my job hunt, and I have looked across a wide range of fields and occupations.  Tell me, Reynolds, where are these jobs that you speak of, if we the unemployed choose to take just anything anywhere?

Even if Congress does extend benefits one more time, the jobless should expect that one to be the last, said Phillip Swagel, business professor at Georgetown University and former Department chief economist under George W Bush.

It is attitudes like this that add stress to my job search in this tough job market.  Assuming I get the fourth and final federal unemployment tier I can survive through Thanksgiving, without another extension it is September or October.  If I get the final state extension I can survive until January or February of 2011.  It is the not knowing, all of the uncertainty, and the tick, tick, tick of the clock winding down that is making my life so hard.

The jobs picture is starting to brighten, Swagel said.  The use of temporary workers is up and employees’ weekly hours are up – both signs that companies should start hiring soon.

Funny, I was talking with some restaurant managers who said they are not only fully staffed, but are overstaffed.  If someone should leave the person may not be replace.  I heard similar at country clubs I have gone to.  As for temp workers, good luck with that too.  I have gone to temp agencies and have experienced employees physically turning their back on me, or tell me – as I look for work in another occupation and field –  since I have no experience anywhere in my background they will not even attempt to place me.

“We are getting close to the point where there shouldn’t be more extensions, “ Swagel said.

Shouldn’t is the operative word.  Businesses are not hiring and there is no should in that.

How Long Should We Help the Unemployed?

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2 Comments »

  1. Julie-
    You should submit this to Newsweek’s My Turn page: http://www.newsweek.com/id/39258 This is the real that has failed to reach the MSM.

    Comment by ReyMac — April 23, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  2. How do you that? Or if you can, could you submit it for me?

    Comment by Julie P — April 23, 2010 @ 3:58 pm


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