Monday, October 25, 2010

60 Minutes on 99ers

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Half of all laid off workers still can't get work

Here's a startling statistic: According to a new Labor Department survey, half of all Americans laid off from 2007 through 2009 remain out of work by January 2010. That's the lowest percentage since the survey began in 1984. 

You may have also heard that more than 40 percent of the 15 million unemployed have been out of work more than six months. That's also a record high set during the recession.  The new survey shows that most of those employers now require new skills and new job duties for those positions, so even though job openings exist in your old field, you may no longer qualify for them. 

(See .)

One recruiter, Rita Ashley, says that employers are not hiring "older" workers (50 +) because they are inferior and possess substandard skills. (see ). The new survey and recent news suggests otherwise:  employers are requiring existing workers to do more after cutbacks, and they don't want to rehire, despite record profits. For instance, they may require CPAs to do bookeeping and secretarial work, or they may require the public relations specialist to do marketing.  Tech companies are now combining business analyst and system analyst positions into one job.

That's why American workers today are doing two, three or more jobs and working longer hours, but still afraid they will get laid off.  Employers are squeezing more from their staffs to do more with less.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Our economy has seen the largest sustained job loss since the 1930s
Why do reporters sound more like economists these days?  I just read a story in the Associated Press about how “applications for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks, a sign that layoffs are declining.”

Huh?  While this may be positive news for economists and Wall Street, it’s not good news for the average worker or the unemployed.  While the AP reporter, Christopher Rugaber, is correct that initial claims for jobless are the lowest level since July, he deceives you because he, like so many other reporters, frames the story from the viewpoint of Labor officials and economists.

A more accurate headline would read:  “Nearly 24,000 people are losing their jobs every week…no end in sight to job loss.”  That’s 96,000 people who lost their jobs in one month (September)!  More than 16 millions are now out of work through no fault of their own, and yet we read stories about these “positive developments” about jobs being shed “at a lower rate.”

It’s hard to make sense of incongruous headlines during the same week: “Job openings increase for second month” (10/7) and “Four straight months of job loss” (10/8).  What is going on here? 
What is going on is that some reporters are snookered into looking at new applications for unemployment claims as “a sign that layoffs are declining,” as Rugaber wrote. 

September’s unemployment report is not good news: Not only did the nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent, but two independent surveys showed private sector employers cut 39,000 jobs that month. Another report indicated that employers are planning for more job cuts.  And both state and federal government is slashing more jobs than it has in nearly 28 years. Overall, the economy has lost more jobs for the longest period of time since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

It’s worse if you count the number of people who are underemployed or who have quit looking.  If you use the broader measure of unemployment, we have an unemployment rate of more than 17 percent (according to the 10/8/2010 Wall Street Journal). Employment is falling in all sectors of our economy, including the private sector and at large, medium and small businesses, with even large businesses (over 500 workers) losing 11,000 jobs in September. And that doesn’t include government jobs, with more states and municipalities laying off teachers, firefighters, and even librarians.  We are losing jobs every month since the recession began in late 2007, yet journalists tell us what economists and government officials want us to believe. 

For more real numbers that don’t fudge, see, a great site full of job search resources.