Recently I read an article that provided a graphic that showed why people are not in the labor force. It shows a huge slice of pie of those that are 55+ with the caption “don’t want a job”. I wanted to run into the street screaming. This accompanied a story on a site that is supposedly on the side of the middle class. They are trying to illustrate that the jobs downturn is not Obama’s fault. That all workers that do not have a job are just not looking or do not want a job. One or two stops on any social network page run by the unemployed or underemployed will show you that this could not be further from the truth.
I do not tell my story for ME. I actually have it better than most in my age/wage sector. Filing bankruptcy helped a lot, though I am still ashamed of it. My spouse has a good job and I have health insurance through him that is not too expensive. Getting by on half the funds we used to have is tough. But this nation is not seeing that there are entire families, people that have children to support, that are not as "lucky" as I am. I have a solid work history of 30 years and impeccable letters of recommendation. Unless you know someone, you are not getting a phone call. No one is looking at your resume. At my husband’s firm, management is hiring their spouses and their children that just graduated college and cannot land a job. I am not saying that is wrong. I am saying that if you do not have a close relative or friend, you are not going to have your resume read.
One day last summer, I went and researched to find a better unemployment statistic. I used the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly numbers from December 2007. It is a horribly managed site; they are not congruent with their report naming from month to month. I did this all on a spreadsheet, I am a former sales and marketing analyst and know how to data mine, etc. I made a smartass graphic to represent a few of the month’s total unemployed using THEIR numbers of additions and losses every month. I get angry that people do not use some basic math to get some realistic facts. The BLS numbers are not correct either as they are based on 23 metropolitan areas, which encompass most, but not all of America.
I am also a bit miffed at those who declare that the unemployed will not accept a position outside of their field. I would take any job that I can do. I have applied at all the big box retail stores, the fast food chains, etc. I did have a part time minimum wage job for 8 months. I was laid off by a text message. A family owned business; they had a family member that was laid off from their teaching job. In addition, sales are down and they cut everyone else's hours.
The demographic of 45 to 65 year olds, that formerly made 45 to 65K, is the group that is not being rehired. Applications are now requiring dates that one graduated from high school. Must have salary history to be considered. Because the 20-25 dollars an hour job that many of us were laid off from are now 12 dollars an hour jobs. The young people do not know that they are being screwed. I made $10.79 dollars an hour in 1985 as a secretary. 100% paid by the employer insurance. Stock at 15% off. CareerBuilder provides information on the jobs that one applies for. How many applications were sent, how far are the applicants willing to drive, what the breakdown of their education is. With the exception of one application that I had sent through CareerBuilder, all of the jobs are showing 300-800 application received with many applicants willing to commute 100 miles each way.
Essential services are being cut more and more as less people are paying taxes on less money. Firefighters, Policemen, Teachers are still being laid off. In some states, their salaries are being cut and they are forced to pay more for their benefits. Less people, working with less income means less taxes being paid. People with massive amounts of income pay less percentage of FICA than those that are having their salaries cut.
So, it’s basic math again. 99% of the population makes less money as a whole. 1% is making more, but paying less in taxes as a whole. The population is growing. We cannot seem to afford basic needed services in this country, but yet have billions dedicated to overseas wars and aid to countries that are not even poor. We have millions of ready, willing and able citizens wanting to work and earn a living being told they are not willing to work. It is gotten to the point where even those groups that were set up to be activists for the unemployed, to tell their story, are not looking at the real facts. They are looking at making the numbers look good for Obama’s re-election.
I do not want pity. I do not want charity. I want America to wake up and acknowledge the real problem that this country has, and understand that no matter who is in the white house, if they don’t recognize the real extent of the unemployment problem, it’s not going to get any better. If I am not working, your children’s classroom has doubled in size. If I am not working, and two houses are burning down at the same time, one of them is not going to be saved.