1sunfight’s Weblog

May 23, 2010

And the Job Hunt Ends – For Now

As the job market began to accelerate and add jobs to the economy my phone began to ring for job interviews, not all of the jobs were plumb jobs, the kind you write home about, but entry level jobs that are at least a way into a company and a step onto the corporate ladder for the climb up it.  I may have taken one of them had I been offered one, just to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and keep my car from getting repossessed , although it is questionable that some of those jobs would have accomplished that, until I could find a better job.

When it comes to many of the entry level jobs I interviewed for it left me beyond shocked at what Corporate America considers a living wage for its entry level workers and/or unskilled labor, some of it borders on modern day slavery, or at least as exploitive as those written about by Charles Dickens during the Industrial Revolution.  But, it is not just the wage that is offered for some of the jobs; it is also the level of background checking that I found appalling for sustenance jobs that offer few skills to help the low level employee better themselves for the corporate ladder climb or in the marketplace in general.  Answering phones and making phone calls for a business is vastly different than a high level security job, like an FBI agent, yet they are being treated equally in Corporate America with the amount of background checking.   Thankfully I did not have to take a job that paid $7.25 to $12.00 an hour with anal checking background check, but it has opened my eyes to the plight of the unskilled worker and the gross exploitation by Corporate America of them, even within the United States.  My experience with Corporate America in my job search has left me with the knowledge that it has an entitlement issue that is as a repugnant as those seen during the Industrial Revolution and the Plantation Economy of the pre-Civil War south, even with a wage it appears Corporate America believes they have the right to ownership of its employees.

Just as I had begun to believe I was never going to find a job and accept that my fate was going to have me crawling back to my parents begging to live with them, which is what I would have had to do given my parents really did not want to take me back in or really believed that the job market has been that austere, fate lead me to where I needed to go.

I do not remember sending this business my resume, but when I spent at least four to five hours a day searching for a job it is no wonder I do not remember where I send all of them off to, even with a job hunt folder.  But one day a week and half ago, as I was doing my routine job hunting, the phone rang.  I did not answer and let the machine get the call; no message was left, but I did get an e-mail from the same phone number.  It was for a job interview with a software firm that I accepted for the Wednesday of the following week.  That Wednesday came and I went in and interviewed for a job that I really had no idea exactly what it would be for other than a sales support analyst, which from reading other online job descriptions of the same job could mean just about anything, since none of them are the same, some are nothing more than an administrative assistant in a sales department, with others requiring wide ranging complex duties.  I went in with the attitude that I am going to present myself with what I have and what I can offer the business and if it is meant to be, then I will get the job, if not, then keep looking.

As it turned out the business I was interviewing with is a small business owned by three men, one American and two Brits, who have a niche product for universities and need someone who has a wide range skills and talent that matched my skill set and interests perfectly.  My jack of all trades approach to doing business with my interest and experience in teaching software use online and ongoing education of the product is exactly what they needed as they look to grow the business and add online training and education on to their business in order to remain competitive.  Of course, there will be other duties, I will be an administrative assistant, a marketing assistant, sales, and data entry when necessary, but the position will allow me to use all of my skills, develop others, and be on the ground floor for creating departments that may include job creation, which will make me more valuable in the marketplace in the future, or I may stay on.  My brother took a job as a mechanical engineer with a small business during Reagan’s recession and it grew from a tiny business, like the one I am in now, to employing 300 people.  Alas, his job did not pay him that much when he came on, like what I am being offered now, but is more than what Corporate America is offering many.  He says his salary did rise as he stayed on and the business grew.  He expects the same for me.  Alas, the job and owners seem to be a good fit.  I start tomorrow after not working for fifteen and a half months.

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May 9, 2010

April Jobs Report: Best Gain in Jobs in Four Years

Filed under: Economics,Financial Crisis,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , ,

It appears that the recovery is starting to really take hold.  In April, employers added 290,000 employees to their payrolls and since the start of the year there have been a total of 573,000 jobs added to the economy.

“It clearly shows that this economic recovery can no longer be a jobless one,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board, a leading research firm.  “Companies apparently are finding they can’t squeeze out any more output without adding workers.”

The report also includes a separate survey of households that it uses to estimate the unemployment rate, which increased to 9.9%.

The rise in the unemployment rate is actually a sign of improving perception of labor market conditions.  The increase was due to an uptick in job seekers who had previously been discourage and dropped out of the job market.  There was a jump of 805,000 workers returning to the labor force in April alone.

Surely this is all good news.  It appears that the job market recovery is in its acceleration phase and if my phone ringing for job interviews over the last two weeks is an indicator, I am going to have agree.  But I am going to have to point out that we still have a long way to go to a full recovery.  In two years the US economy has shed 8.4 million jobs, not as bad as the number lost under Ronald Reagan, but it is still a significant number of people.  It is going to take years to put everyone back to work and get the unemployment rate to full employment.  It took Ronald Reagan six years to accomplish that, and if you want to be picky, the nation really was not at full recovery until Bush, Sr. was in office.  I have this to say about President Obama, he will get re-elected in 2012 if he gets the unemployment rate down by putting the nation back to work.  But, trends like this are going to have to continue for the rest of this year and over the next two years.  A lot of people need jobs.

On a personal level I think the job market is picking up, my phone has been ringing for interviews and I am getting requests for them via my e-mail as well.  The problem that I am encountering is that the competition to get a job is fierce.  On two occasions I turned up at job interviews where there were a dozen people vying for a job.  On one other occasion there were eight people there interviewing for one position.  Finally, I went to a job interview that was an open house, by invitation only style, where forty people were there.  One of the people flew in, courtesy of his son who works for Delta, from Seattle to interview with that business.  People need jobs right now and they are willing to go to any length to get one.  This upcoming week I do have a job interview scheduled for Tuesday with two strong follow ups.  Personally I think I will be able to find a job as the job market continues its climb out of the abyss, but I am still very, very worried regardless.  I am up against a lot of people and my unemployment benefits will run out at the end of June without another extension.  I think Congress will give extensions again this year only because the unemployment rate is so very high.  For myself if that does happen I will get the final tier of federal unemployment benefits of an additional six weeks, then I will have to apply for the final 20 weeks with the state.  That will take me through the remainder of the year and with a job market finally adding jobs I think I will be able to find a job, but I think it may take the rest of the year to do it.  I am more optimistic about the job market, but I am not optimistic enough to think I will find something by the end of June.

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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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April 4, 2010

Turning the Corner?

Filed under: Economics,GOP,Obama,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 12:35 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The United States has been in recession since December of 2007, with noticeable job losses starting in May of 2008, reaching their crescendo in May of the following year, and trickling less and less as the year ebbs on.  In that time I was one of the people who lost their job, so it is no wonder that I take special interest every month when the jobless numbers and unemployment rate.   The jobs report came out on Friday for the month of March.  It was much anticipated that the figures would be good as we climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Leading up to my job loss was the real estate crisis, the Wall St. meltdown, subsequently followed with a two part bank bailout, presidential election, that saw a lame duck president choose to do nothing once the election was determined, thus exacerbating the situation, and finally, a new president was sworn in four months after the Wall St meltdown along with a new congress that gave Democrats complete control of both ends of Pennsylvanian Avenue.   Job losses were the steepest last winter and spring as I watched for four months starting in January; hundreds of thousands of people month after month lose their jobs. To me it was, and still is, more than a crisis, many of those people are my competition for my next job.  In my mind, the fewer people out of the work the more opportunity there is for me to get a job.  The jobs report came out and I paid attention.

The nation has an unemployment rate of 9.7%, which is not the highest it has ever been, but it is not good.  The state of Georgia has an unemployment rate of 10.5 %, with the city of Atlanta at 10.8%.  Why so high and why so persistent?  I looked back over the last decade and can easily see the reasons as to why and even why so persistent.  The last decade, most of which was under George W. Bush’s watch,  saw the weakest GDP growth in seventy years, with job growth that matched, both were just over 2%.  What fueled that growth were the interrelated booms in consumer spending, real estate and financial markets while simultaneously household saw incomes grow very slowly.  It was unsustainable.  There was no saving and export led growth that would have been sustainable and probably more resilient in a recession.  Eight years of a do nothing president beyond spending money on a war he lied to get us into, and economic policies that just did not work, brought us to the edge of complete collapse, something that could still happen.  We are not out of the woods completely yet.  In order to move ahead we must come to terms with this one simple truth that all presidents and the nation must accept, although one party just refuses to accept this, this time around and that is:

A president who needs to correct the failed economic policies of a predecessor will have more difficulty obtaining very low unemployment, so the degree of improvement over the previous administration is an important measure of success.

One party sees this as blame.  It is not blame, it is hard truth.  It is accepting that this is the fundamental problem that a year of time is not going to fix.  Yes, the unemployment rate is high and persistently so, but this is the reason.  George W. Bush saw a net job gain of just over three million jobs in his eight years in office.  We have lost 8.2 million jobs in the last two years, which means jobs lost include some of the six million plus jobs created under former president Bill Clinton.  That is really scary.  Two consecutive administrations created roughly ten million jobs and in two years eighty percent of those jobs have vanished.  President Obama may not just be shepherding us through the Great Recession, he may be shepherding us through the reprise of the Great Depression.

I am going to point something out about the total number people who are currently out of work in the United States, the cyclical unemployment rate, and structural unemployment rate.  Currently there are fifteen million people out of work; half of those people are the cyclically unemployed at 9.7%, the other half are the structurally unemployed.  The unemployment rate when the United States is considered to be at full employment is 5 percent and less, which means there are always about seven and a half million not working all of the time, also known as, the structurally unemployed.  It looks like a big figure, but the United States is the third most populous nation on earth with over three hundred million living here.

Okay, so I live in Atlanta where the unemployment rate is much higher than the national average and is expected to be one of the last areas to recover from this economic downturn.    Atlanta’s growth in the last decade was based on consumer spending, malls are over the place – shopping is a past time – real estate, and banking.  The state of Georgia has had the most bank failures in the nation at forty one of the 165 bank failures in the two year recession.  Atlanta does not have an industrial base to help lead the city out of this recession, although Atlanta never has had heavy industry.  Atlanta has, in the twenty three years I have lived here, has always been all about shopping, and malls, McMansions, urban sprawl, and making money.  It is not all gloom and doom for Atlanta, without going into the deatil, city is growing into the next Silicon Valley.  Atlanta’s future is technology and as I look for work I can see that it is.  This is a good thing to add to the portfolio.  Additionally, even with the gloom and doom, my phone is ringing for job interviews; most in the tech sector, one of which I have a face to face interview with on Monday, be it a million miles from where I live.  I also am waiting on huge business to get back with on when they plan on interviewing me for an open position there.  I hope to be back to work after this week, or very, very soon

So, I saw the jobs report come out and I wanted to know what was going on.  The United States gained 162,000 jobs.  42,000 of those jobs are temporary census workers for the 2010 census, so I am going to throw those out since the jobs will vanish for another ten years once the census is over.  So there have been a total of 120,000 jobs added.  Regular temp services added 40,000 jobs, which is a good thing.  At the start of any recession temp workers are the first to go, but are among the first to return as businesses test the recovery waters.  All job sectors either saw job gains, or remained flat, with only two sectors, finance and insurance, lost jobs.  Another indicator that the economy is starting to recover is that the number of hours worked is increasing too, instead of having hours cut, which what happens at the start of any recession.  If memory serves me correctly, that was about a three percent GDP gain for this reporting period.

This is a good start, but I am not going to fool myself.  This is just that, a start.  The unemployment rate is not expected to fall until sometime next year, with projections of it falling to 7.5% by 2012 and that it may be a total of five years from now before everyone is put back to work, although Ronald Reagan experienced the same thing.  Unemployment did not come to full employment until 15 months before his last term in office.

Of course, the Republican Party is foaming at the mouth angry over this jobs report.  It is astonishing how angry they are.  Frankly, it is unreasonably angry and angry enough for me to say this is more than about losing the health care debate, which is fueling their rage in a big way.  It is more than justified anger over a persistently high unemployment.  However, I believe that reason is another blog entry for another day.

This is a good jobs report; we just need see more of them for some time to come.

Obama, GOP spar over new jobs figures

Economy Made Few Gains in Bush Years

Bureau of Labor Statics Jobs Report

Job Market Picks Up, but Slowly

Tallying Presidential Success

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March 6, 2010

It is Easier to Find a Job When You Have One

That is how that expression goes.  I have wondered over the years if there is any truth to it.  The year before I graduated from college I started looking for a job.  It took me a long time to find one and I had a job, but it was the end of a recession,  I was delivering pizza, and switching careers, so that put me to the back of the line for any kind of professional job, even with a business degree.  I got my first professional sales job five months after I graduated.   That job did not last and my next professional job did not come along for 18 months.  In the mean time, I returned to delivering pizza.  In January of 2009 I lost my second professional job and it is now 13 months later and there is not a job in sight.  Frustration abounds.

I do have a friend who is a recruiter for the state of Georgia, the last time I saw him he looked me dead in the eye and told me, “It is easier to find a job when you have one.  It is why I send you job descriptions for open positions, like receptionist.  Employers are more likely to hire someone who has a job than someone who does not.  If you have not worked in a while you lose that discipline that comes with working.”  Okay, I understand what he meant; at least he did not call me stupid.  He has kept a casual eye open for jobs that he thinks I may qualify for, but not quite as much as he has this week.  He has me looking at jobs from downtown Atlanta, into the foothills of the Appalachians, with only a month left of unemployment benefits I went along with it.  Thankfully, Senator Jim Bunning caved on his opposition to extending unemployment benefits, so I got an additional month to look for a job.  Oh, boy!

This afternoon as I was reading the local newspaper I came across an article about the current state of unemployment.  The article started out with a warning.  “This column is not for the faint of heart.”  I took that as challenge.  The guy rattled off some facts about national and state unemployment, figures I can recite in my sleep.  9.7% for the nation and holding, while the state is at 10.4%; add in the under-employed and the discouraged, the unemployment rate spikes to 16.9%.  Those are depressing numbers, the likes of which we have not seen since Ronald Reagan was president.  I think I have a better chance of getting into Harvard than I have of getting a job.

The article went on and included the phrase, “It is easier to find a job when you have one.”  The writer elaborated a little.  The average time a person is out of work is 30 weeks in Georgia, or eight months.  (Personally I would like to know the median.  I meet some people who find jobs quickly and others who have not. Unfortunately, I am in the latter group.)  He went on to write that employers prefer to hire people who are already working.  I somewhat disagree after a few job interviews I have been on.  I think employers want the recently unemployed people who can start work right away.  The rest of the article then turned into his warning.  He started looking at the real effects of the number of unemployed versus the real amount of jobs getting created and projected for job creation.  In a nutshell, the state of Georgia is looking at putting the 794,000 unemployed back to work by 2020.  That is sobering.  He then took the point of view of “permanent unemployment,” mostly male, would become a norm instead of deviant standard for society.  (This current recession is supposed to be impacting males in greater numbers than women.)  The writer concluded that not only current unemployed males will be disproportionately affected by this recession, but males entering into the workforce over the next decade; writing those boys when never grow into men, if one can at least define male identities by work.   What a horrible legacy for not just a generation, but for a nation.  However, it made me think of another lost generation.

The summation of the article did remind me of Reagan’s recession when people were writing about how the younger Baby Boomers missed out on the economic prosperity the older Boomers experienced, how there is (was) a widening gulf between either end of the generation and how younger Boomers were facing disenfranchisement.   Given that I am a younger Boomer, they were talking about me, and, yes, it did take me longer to start to prosper than my older counterparts, even my brother and sister who are not all that much older than me.  (My brother became an industrial engineer without going to college.  He claims he hit the workforce just as the computer era took off.  He says he feels very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.  My sister got on with a business during high school and climbed the corporate ladder over the 30 years she has been there.  I have not been that fortunate.)  However, during the 80’s, under Ronald Reagan, the Christian Right did flourish and fed the wounded males low self esteem.  Women became their whipping post for their inability to thrive, like their older male Baby Boomer counterparts did.  I recall by the end of Reagan’s eight years of high unemployment groups like Operation Rescue headed by Terry Randall, or the Lambs of Christ came into being, both heavily male right wing Christian groups opposed to abortion and wanting to return America back to her “family values” (i.e. woman at home with children and subordinate to the husband. These groups were also the first careers where leaders, like Terry Randall made real money.  He got on talk shows, etc. and made a lot money until the IRS came along.  He was a tax resister.)  Groups like these spawned murderers who started hunting healthcare providers who performed abortions.  Of course, they liked to stalk women who had abortions and make their lives miserable too.  This was one lost generation.  So, the writer made me think, with a rise in groups like the Tea Party, could we be facing more of the same or similar?  Another lost generation of disenfranchised men taken over by the right wing and exploited, like then?  Sustained high unemployment is a recipe for the worst of society to rise to the top.  It has happened all over history.  Too much time on your hands.

For me, and others like me, “It is easier to find a job when you have one,” but what about those who never got one to begin with?

Thomas Oliver:  Joblessness Creates Long Term Problems

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February 27, 2010

Revolutions Have Been Started Over Less

“Let them eat cake!” quipped Marie Antoinette concerning bread shortages in France.   There were bread shortages at the time of a financial crisis and an unfair tax system that favored nobility making France ripe for revolution.  Sound familiar?

It is clear that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky did not learn anything from history.  It is clear that he does not know the phrase, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  However, it is not just his lack of knowledge, or comprehension of history that is most troubling, it is his partisanship and ego that are.  After being an obstructionist on the floor of the Senate on Friday and after getting called out for it Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky was heard uttering the words, “Tough shit.”

What happened on the floor of the US Senate on Friday is very disturbing, especially for those who rely on federal, not state, unemployment benefits to help pay their bills until they can find a job, and/or those who have COBRA insurance, which is health insurance for the laid off and unemployed.   Senator Jim Bunning blocked a bill that would provide an additional 30 days of extended benefits to the unemployed and COBRA recipients.

Now why would Republican Jim Bunning do such a thing?  Could it be that he is that partisan, that his ego is that large, or is it because he hates President Obama?  Answer: all three.

He has served in both Houses for twenty three years, currently serving as a US Senator, that means he served under former president Bush, so I wonder why the poor memory?  Currently he is demanding that a way be found to pay for the 30 day extension of benefits.  He claims to be outraged with the amount of money being spent in Washington DC these days.  He is angry with President Obama for the amount of debt that was incurred in the last two years of the Bush Administration and is blaming Obama for it.  Senator Jim Bunning seems to have a poor memory of signing, year after year, a blank check to finance the war in Iraq, a war that was started on a string of lies. Wars are not cheap either.  He also has a poor memory of former president Bush spending huge sums of Medicare money on Big Business and Unions; even though both told him they did not want or need the money.   Senator Bunning is an angry old man with an ax to grind with President Obama simply because he does not like him.  Senator Jim Bunning has been heard referring to President Obama as “your president”, thus disowning him.

Here is the outcome of Senator Jim Bunning’s actions: starting Monday, March 1st, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or COBRA health insurance subsidy.  Because the Senate did not act, (read Jim Bunning) the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that for income.  In total, more than one million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

All week Republican Senator Jim Bunning blocked a 30 day extension on unemployment benefits.  The Senate will not return for a vote on this until Tuesday.

The national unemployment rate currently stands at 9.7% and is expected to remain that high for the rest of the year and is not expected to drop to 6.6% or 7.5% until 2012.  The unemployment rate is not expected to drop to 5.8% until seven years from now.   Republican Jim Bunning was confronted on the floor of the Senate with these facts and the unemployment rate of each state, which is when he  was heard saying, “Tough shit.”

Really, Jim, tough shit?  Jim, there are millions of unemployed people in the country right now and you just took away the only means many have for getting themselves through an economic tough time.  I am one of them.  Jim, I am going to point out to you the figure where 5 million people will run out unemployment benefits by June if there is not any further assistance.  That is 5 million angry people with a motive to start a revolution and it will start at your home and office, since you are the sole cause of it.  You see, Jim, someone like me relies on unemployment to help pay the rent and car note, while my savings pays for food, utilities, and other hidden expenses.  I do not have COBRA at this time because I cannot afford it.  I need to pay for my car, so I can look for a job.  Health insurance, which I need, right now is a luxury.  I can also tell you about my unemployed friend who has Lupus needs COBRA, so she can get medical treatment for her illness.  Her COBRA health insurance costs her $1,200 a month for her and her husband, and that is with the break provided for in the stimulus plan.  But, in your mind it is, “Tough shit.”  Well, Jim, it will be tough shit for you when the angry mob with a motive turns up at your door.  I will not tolerate being a pawn in your game of brinkmanship with President Obama, just because you do not like him.  Your hatred is going to throw me, and people like me on to the street, and it is going to kill my friend, murderer.

Sen. Jim Bunning holds floor: ‘Tough s–t’

Jobless Benefits Start Ending on Sunday

How Bush Bankrupted America

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February 24, 2010

Then and Now

In late January of 2009 I lost my job.  It is one year later and I am still looking for work.  Of course, I am not happy about it, especially with having put myself through college a little later in life.  I was and still am expecting a little more from my degree than what I have been getting.  I switched careers right after Bush, Jr.’s recession earlier in the decade, there were still a lot of people out of work, so I had a hard time finding a professional career, but after searching doggedly from 2003 to 2006 I did find one.  In that time I did have a false start at a company that was run by two brothers who were brilliant businessmen, but two of the worst managers I have ever worked for, so with that experience in mind I trudge forward with a wary eye over my shoulder.  I look to the past for guidance in the present and the future.  Right now my experience is telling me to go back to restaurant work, like I did for a while and keep getting ready for tomorrow.

I see in the present high unemployment, but still not as high as it was when I first graduated from high school in 1981.  Two years after I graduated from high school the unemployment rate went from 7.4% to 10.8% in 1982.   Back then I was living at home with my parents, so having a job didn’t mean to me what it means to me now.  Of course now the unemployment rate is 9.7%, down from 10.2%, which is too high.  It was 7.6% in January of 2009, but it spiked immediately after that, the full impact of a near financial collapse of our banking system was taking affect.

Back then inflation skyrocketed.  It was high while I was in high school in the late 70’s and early 80’s, inflation peaked in 1981.  Interest rates were outrageous.  I can remember reading and seeing interest rates for homes as high as 25%.  The official interest for the period is 13.5%.  A person never knew how much anything would cost the next day.  We are not experiencing runaway inflation today, like we did back then, in spite of George W. Bush’s free spending ways in both of his terms, or the bank bailout, or the stimulus spending act, except by the alarmists.  There are always gloom and doomers.  Back then there was a lot of spending going on to help spur the economy; it was called the arms race with the former Soviet Union.  Back then we went from a creditor nation to a debtor nation.  We did not reverse that until status until the mid to late 1990’s. In fact, we had a surplus in 2000.  It was then reversed starting in 2002.

Back then we weren’t fighting a two front war, nor were did we come to the near financial collapse like what we faced in late 2008 through early 2009.  Back then what was needed was to break the back of inflation.  Steps were taken to do just that, and like then a lot of people lost their jobs.  Back then the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the President of the United States were called job killers.  Back then the president’s approval ratings sank to 35% two years into his first term.  He lost 27 seats in the Houses of Congress.  Now the chairman of the federal reserve and the president of the United States are getting called  nearly the same thing and like back then, the president is facing losing seats in both Houses, even with approval ratings at 49%, which are significantly lower than his honeymoon period of a year ago when it 79%, but 49% is still better than back then.  Back then by the time the 1984 election rolled around people thought the president would lose, like what is being said now about our current president for a race that is nearly three years off.

By 1984 the unemployment rate sank to 7.2% winning the president another term.  Unemployment ran high through most of that president’s two terms.  It averaged 7.5% over his two terms.  (In 1986, after not being able to find stable employment, I moved to Atlanta and worked non-stop until a year ago.  I had no idea the unemployment was 7.0% in 1986.  I would not have made the move, if I knew then what I know now.  That recession caused me to relocate.)  Right now unemployment is expected to remain at 9.7% or 9.5% and by 2012 elections fall somewhere between 6.6% and 7.5%.  Like back then and like back then unemployment is expected to not start approach what is thought to be full employment in six years.  Back then full employment was not achieved until 1989 and I suspect things will not be any different.  Back then we faced down an entire decade of cyclical inflation and recession, now we are facing down a decade of greed and ownership society.  We will move beyond this.  I believe this.

I write this for two reasons.  One I am out of work and looking for work in a flooded job market is emotionally trying.  I really do not want to return to the odd hours and hard work that restaurants offer, but I will if I have to.  I know it’s temporary.  The other reason is that today we forget our past, our recent past.  There are enough people walking around who remember back then, but I am afraid back then is remembered as the “good old days” and people being what they are will remember those days with a little bit more in focus.  I believe there is too much ill will being hurled at a human being who walked into the nation’s worst crisis since FDR walked into the Great Depression.

Paul Volker

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Unemployment Rate.

Some Fed officials favor reeling in stimulus soon

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April 16, 2009

April Update

Filed under: Daily Observations,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 10:39 pm
Tags: ,

It has been a while I posted anything. Normally I have been posting political satire cartoons, or video events of the Obama Administration, but in the last two weeks I have not been finding cartoons that I think are funny, and even  though Obama gives plenty of press conferences and the like, he does not give that many. My apologies to those who like to visit my blog and are finding nothing new. I am just not that inspired these days.

Currently I am working on my third month of unemployment and I have never been as bored in my life as I am now. Although I continue looking for work, which consumes part of my day, it does not consume all of it, which results in lots of free time. Besides, how many resumes can I keep sending out and not get a response from without losing interest? I have not been on a job interview in a month. With three and a half months of unemployment insurance left it does concern me. At this point I am a little lost as what to do next besides going about my life as I had intended right after I first lost my job. I am glad I had the foresight to plan ahead and to give myself goals to reach, however small, during my unemployment.

This month I have started attending a GMAT prep class every Saturday morning, with the hopes of attending graduate school to get a Master’s of accounting degree. Even if I do not start graduate this fall as I have planned, I will have taken this class and gone on to take the GMAT. I can attend graduate school at any time in the next five years with the score I get from the test I take. I say this because I have started the process of getting federal funding for school through a non-profit organization that stipulates they will not fund a Master’s degree or even a Bachelor’s degree. However, for me I will only need ten classes to get a BBA in accounting and the amount of money they are offering to pay for a program of study would cover those ten classes. It will not pay for the books, but the tuition will be paid for. If I were walking in there asking for an entire Bachelor’s degree (aka 52 classes and a lot of money)I would not get it. I may talk with them about getting a Macc, but I am not holding my breath. I am confident that I will be able to persuade them into getting me into the accounting field I have the background for it. That said, I will not have my third appointment with them until May, when I will get the money for additional studies. In the mean time, while I was at the non-profit business I did see that there are job opportunities including a call center that is opening nearby and hiring 500 people. Tomorrow I have an appointment to talk with them about a job. I may as well. I am so bored and I know I need a job, even if I get the extended unemployment benefits that the stimulus package offers some day the money will run out.

So to my regular readers this is what is new; moving ahead with furthering my education and continuing to look for a job in a bleak job market.

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March 22, 2009

American Idol?

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March 19, 2009

The Morning Headline

Lately I have been boycotting the news, especially cable news; it has been too dismal for me.  I do read the news websites and the local paper to stay informed, but this morning I wish I had passed on reading the screaming headline on it along with the accompanying story.  The headline this morning read that the state of Georgia’s unemployment rate is now at 9.3%, with the city of Atlanta shedding the most jobs in the last month.  That is not the kind of news I wanted to read first thing in the morning.  In fact, it is not news that I wanted to read at all.  If anything, I would have preferred that the headline read the unemployment rate went down or at least remained stagnant. 

When I spoke with a friend of mine who is in human resources the other day he told me that overall people are not getting interviewed, so I should be grateful for those I am getting.  He has read my resume and says it is a strong resume with great skills, which helps in today’s job market.  That is some consolation, but with today’s headline I wonder will it be enough.

I have been on three job interviews in the last six and a half weeks.  The first one was tepid to say the least; the third was a bait and switch.  I went in expecting to interview for one position and was presented with another totally unrelated job in a completely different industry.  I was not happy with being deceived.  I smiled politely and left.  The second interview went extremely well, but still no response.  I will give the person through today before I call him to learn the outcome.  I already have a feeling what the answer is going to be, that I am over-qualified, but in today’s job market I will ask anyway, especially since the interview was so strong.  Hope springs eternal.

After six weeks of waiting I finally started receiving unemployment benefits.  I was beginning to think that I had been denied it, but they were just slow in getting me payments.  With an extension in unemployment becoming available I should be able to go into next spring without a job providing I do not find one in the mean time.  It may not be much consolation, but at least I know I will have somewhere to live, a car to drive, and food to eat while I look for a job and ride out the recession.

Atlanta Journal Constitution

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