What About the Long-Term Unemployed?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Job seekers look for employment at a job fair in Los Angeles on September 20, 2010 Job seekers look for employment at a job fair in Los Angeles on September 20, 2010 (Getty Images)

Friday produced another round of ugly job numbers as the country's unemployment rate inched up to 9.2 percent. Yet in Washington, the conversation remains fixed squarely on a compromise to raise the country's debt ceiling. Have lawmakers forgotten about the country's unemployed? And what about the "99'ers," the individuals who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and are left with no government assistance? Where do they fit into the picture?

One of those people who have been unemployed for a long period is Alexandra Jarrin. A veteran of corporate America, she has been unemployed since March 2008 and is currently living in a motel in Vermont. Dan Gross, economics editor and columnist for Yahoo! Finance, talks about how the government has responded.

Guests:

Daniel Gross and Alexandra Jarrin

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione

Comments [14]

It's nice that someone is checking in on the long-term unemployed!
I've been unemployed for almost two years - it seems completely unreal to me that I got my layoff notice two years ago now. I never dreamed that I would still be looking for a job after all this time.
Eighteen years of great experience at a prominent university, a college degree, and it seems to mean nothing to most prospective employers. The market is worse than ever.

I feel horrible for people who are homeless or getting close to it. For now, I feel safe from that, but my unemployment will run out soon, and then what?? If I don't get a job, I don't know what I'll do. The only thing I can do now is keep plugging away.

It seems really sick that there is plenty of money for all the current wars, incursions, invasions etc. the US in right now, yet no provisions for all of it's unemployed citizens. Talk about screwed up priorities. Something has got to change - and soon!

Jul. 12 2011 11:28 AM

It's nice that someone is checking in on the long-term unemployed!
I've been unemployed for almost two years - it seems completely unreal to me that I got my layoff notice two years ago now. I never dreamed that I would still be looking for a job after all this time.
Eighteen years of great experience at a prominent university, a college degree, and it seems to mean nothing to most prospective employers. The market is worse than ever.

I feel horrible for people who are homeless or getting close to it. For now, I feel safe from that, but my unemployment will run out soon, and then what?? If I don't get a job, I don't know what I'll do. The only thing I can do now is keep plugging away.

It seems really sick that there is plenty of money for all the current wars, incursions, invasions etc. the US in right now, yet no provisions for all of it's unemployed citizens. Talk about screwed up priorities. Something has got to change - and soon!

Jul. 12 2011 11:27 AM

It's nice that someone is checking in on the long-term unemployed!
I've been unemployed for almost two years - it seems completely unreal to me that I got my layoff notice two years ago now. I never dreamed that I would still be looking for a job after all this time.
Eighteen years of great experience at a prominent university, a college degree, and it seems to mean nothing to most prospective employers. The market is worse than ever.

I feel horrible for people who are homeless or getting close to it. For now, I feel safe from that, but my unemployment will run out soon, and then what?? If I don't get a job, I don't know what I'll do. The only thing I can do now is keep plugging away.

It seems really sick that there is plenty of money for all the current wars, incursions, invasions etc. the US in right now, yet no provisions for all of it's unemployed citizens. Talk about screwed up priorities. Something has got to change - and soon!

Jul. 12 2011 10:40 AM

Ms. Jarrin:

I know what it's like to be homeless and to be blessed by "the kindness of strangers." I too was interviewed by the Takeaway today, July 12, and can relate on so many levels to your story. Miracles can happen. I know they may be hard to see just now. But believe in yourself -- it will happen.
Cynthia (Cyndi) Norton-

Jul. 12 2011 09:14 AM
Brian Shube from Smithtown, NY

Alexandra Jarrin's story is gut wrenching, Unfortunately, there are millions of Alexandra's out there whose situations seem equally hopeless. Although collectively the situation is difficult to bend your mind around, the solution may happen one case at a time. If every businessman committed to hire one Alexandra in the next couple of weeks, the collective impact would be enormous. If our government were to chip in with tax incentives for businesses hiring new employees, it would easily pay for itself in an increased tax base, more consumer spending and before long the current economic problems would be a bad memory

Jul. 11 2011 04:15 PM
Victor Venning from Ringwood, NJ

Nothing government can do will bring back jobs at a fast rate. We've just had a massive wealth transfer from the non-rich to the rich-and-corporate, and the non-rich simply don't have the resources now to support the type of consumer economy we've turned into.

Tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy won't stimulate demand. Tax cuts to the non-rich will go to paying down debts, and late bills. No increase in demand there either.

Add to that the fact that companies that have survived the economic downturn have grown more efficient. They produce more with fewer employees, and pay those employees less. So they are better suppliers. But how to increase demand?

'Shovel-ready' projects, funded by the Federal government is a good idea, but it's asking for fraud on a massive scale. Just look at how much we've been ripped off by contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to that the fact that, Federal money to the States may save the jobs, of teachers, police and firefighters, but how does that stimulate MORE demand?

The best the government can do is long-term infrastructure projects, and the real benefits of those will be realized just there. In the long term. In the short term, there really is little to be done. We at least have the bones of Universal Healthcare now, so we won't have people sick in the streets.

Jul. 11 2011 12:14 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, Alexandra, he lady who is homeless broke my heart. I am and was in a similar situation. I know about the kindness of strangers when there is no family or anybody close to you to help. Things seem hopeless out there. Whether you have a college degree or not, if you have the skills, you should be able to get a job. It is too bad that reality is often different. Homeless is a terrible experience. Nobody deserves it. I have felt invisible in my search for a home and a job. I have asked and applied to no avail. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 11 2011 12:14 PM
listener

"Relying on the kindness of strangers," "letter writing campaigns" to Bernie Sanders and listening to financial reporters blaming "bankers and corporations" is a huge waste of time. The state that leads in job growth today is Texas. How about swallowing some "progressive" pride and asking Gov. Rick Perry who was running Texas when Obama was still an unknown state senator, how jobs are created?

Jul. 11 2011 11:25 AM
James from Miami, Fl USA

Basically, I think the Congress is not now doing much at all to create new jobs or stimulate the economy and the President and the Dems. have lost the rhetorical battle for, if not the will to purse, additional government intervention in the economy. This means that nothing will happen to increase jobs to the extent needed.

The bulk of the first stimulus, jobs-wise, went to state and local governments and a was used to preserve local government employment in the face of declining state and local revenues from real estate taxes.
This preserved those jobs for a year. Now those postponed job losses are coming to the surface.

Banks used the money they got from the government as though they really earned it and without regard for the fact that it came from taxpayers...and have clamped down on lending altogether...not at all stimulating the economy.

The money did not go to finance an adequate number of public works contracts with private companies to make a dent in most local economies (a "trickle up" effect).

The only thing that seems to have worked well and quickly, for working people and jobs, is the assistance given to the auto industry.

Somehow the Dems have allowed the focus of the discussion to become deficits, which will soon be unveiled as mythical, and have abandoned efforts to get people back to work.

The failure of the Dems. to put the house majority on the hot seat re: jobs will inure to their disadvantage because no one will know what they actually stand for and will fight for.

What all of these people can't seem to grasp is that the unemployment numbers translate to real people and real families. This lack of income is not resolved by families "just cutting back." Families are losing their homes, splitting up their kids and see nothing that makes them think that things might get better. Rather, it will be harder and harder for them to put their families back together.

These are urgent day to day concerns for 15 million unemployed Americans, their families and the people who care about them. But, apparently, there is no sense of urgency about their plight, on behalf of the President or the Congress.

Jul. 11 2011 10:52 AM
William from Johnstown, PA

William

The problem of the long-term unemployed will never be addressed until there is accuracy in reporting of statistics. For example, and in the case of Ms. Jarrin and millions of others, her personal unemployment is no longer a contributor to the 9.2% rate. Due to her length of term unemployed, she has been assigned the title: "Discouraged Worker" (as defined by DOL as: "one that is no longer looking for work.."

I propose the following:
1) - Accurate reporting of unemployment in this country; which we all agree is close to 20%.,
2) - A method to pool long-term unemployed for "preferred" placement, in regard to both skill/experience level and mo/yrs unemployed. (we must as a nation not cast away these resources),

And finally...banish the term "Discouraged Worker", and report accurately on the statistic of college educated persons unemployed. The VAST majority of those unemployed in which I am close to are very well educated (unfortunately the are all over the age of 45)

Jul. 11 2011 10:27 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

This weekend I went to the hardware store and opted to pay just a little more for the US made products on my shopping list. That's my part. Apart from subsidizing all the wrong industry, the government can do very little for the economy. Today's economy is not an exact science. How can you write a formula for something that is mostly influenced by human emotion. Movement of stocks, borrowing money, commodities/value of services, and much more are controlled by what people believe in NOT what these things are actually worth. And what of politicians? They go by whoever "donates" more to their campaigns. This isn't a crisis, it's a free-for-all at a close-out sale.

Jul. 11 2011 10:01 AM
Naomi Alexis from Brooklyn

Ms. Jarrin,

You are not alone. Keep optimistic.

Jul. 11 2011 09:56 AM
listener

All is required is a calculator and some common sense to realize that if an administration spends more money than anytime in world history its going to be a problem sooner or later.
That money borrowed needs to come from somewhere in the next several years and the private sector knows it will come from them in the form of taxes and regulations. There will be no serious growth in the US because they have no idea how this government will punish any success they may glean. No budgets or serious economic proposals are being offered by the Democrats. The grand promises of stimulus, Obamacare and other massive pending programs have come to nothing and no, it is not "good" despite the empty leftist rehortic.
This aministration spent the last 30 months putting political power and entrechment ahead of the needs of the citizenry and now it is plainly obvious that any credibility they once possessed on the economy is gone. All that is left now is demagoguery since they cannot run on their record.

Jul. 11 2011 09:24 AM
David Zapen from North Miami Beach FL (WLRN)

Where do we begin? The bar has risen on qualifying to get benefits and Florida has reduced benefits from 26 weeks to 20. As www.thomhartmann.com reminds us, productivity has disconnected from wages since 1981; Ralph Nader estimates the current minimum wage should be $15 an hour not $10 like in 1968 or $7.25 like now. One bottom-up stimulus might give $13,000/year ($250/week) to post-9/11 military veterans under O-5 and to the 99ers; it would be more popular than the 2010 non-fix of extending the 2001 Bush tax cut.

Jul. 11 2011 09:16 AM

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