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Growing ranks of long-term jobless face tough odds

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Growing ranks of long-term jobless face tough odds

By JEANNINE AVERSA

2010 The Associated Press

June 5, 2010, 1:29PM

WASHINGTON — If you lose your job these days, it's worth scrambling to find a new one — fast. After six months of unemployment, your chances of landing work dwindle.

The proportion of people jobless for six months or more has accelerated in the past year and now makes up 46 percent of the unemployed. That's the highest percentage on records dating to 1948. By late summer or early fall, they are expected to make up half of all jobless Americans.

Economists say those out of work for six months or more risk becoming less and less employable. Their skills can erode, their confidence falter, their contacts dry up. Their growing ranks also will keep pressure on Congress to keep extending jobless benefits, which now run for up to 99 weeks.

Overall, the economy has created a net 982,000 jobs this year. But for Jeff Martinez and the record 6.76 million others who have struck out for six months or more, their struggles are getting worse, not better.

Martinez, 40, a salesman in Washington, D.C., says he's logged more than 200 interviews in the past three years. Decked out in a dark navy suit and Burberry tie, Martinez projects drive and a zest for deal-making. And yet the most urgent deal of his career — finding a job — eludes him.

"You have days where you feel motivated and hopeful and optimistic," he says. "Then there are other days, you really lose the faith and think, `I'm never going to get another job. Ever.'"

What's causing the rising ranks of the long-term jobless to exceed the pace of other recessions?

Mainly, it's the depth and duration of the job-slashing this time. Since the recession began in December 2007 through May this year, a net 7.4 million jobs have vanished. The unemployment rate has surged nearly 5 percentage points: From 5 percent in December 2007 to 9.7 percent in May.

By contrast, in the last severe recession, the rate rose less sharply over a shorter period: From 7.2 percent in July 1981 to 10.8 percent at the end of 1982.

Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, points to the "sheer scale of the falloff in demand for workers" this time. It's left more people out of work for longer stretches. And it's intensified competition for each opening.

"It's a cruel game of musical chairs," Mishel says.

To lower the unemployment rate from the current 9.7 percent to a more normal 6 percent would require roughly a net 15 million new jobs by the end of 2016, estimates Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.

Few think that's likely.

One factor behind the growing proportion of the long-term unemployed is the erosion of their workplace skills — or employers' perception of it. It's hard to find work in a tight job market when your skills are seen as stale.

For some occupations in particular, such as computer technicians or accountants, people jobless for many months can lose pace with technological changes or federal rules.

Among those who fear losing their edge is Stephan Azor, 30. He's looking for information technology work, perhaps overseeing a company's computer system. He was laid off eight months ago as a system administrator for a defense contractor.

"Technology changes every six months, so there are things I have to look up and learn," says Azor, who lives in Washington.

Other reasons for the growing proportion of the long-term unemployed:

_ Jobs wiped out by the Great Recession that aren't coming back. In industries like home construction, manufacturing and retail, fewer workers will be needed even after the economy has fully recovered. One reason is higher productivity: Companies have managed to produce the same level of goods or services with fewer workers. Economist Marisa DiNatale of Moody's Economy.com notes that people out of work in those industries may lack the skills for other jobs that are becoming available.

_ The breadth of the recession, which struck every area of the country, makes it harder for job hunters to move to another region in expectation of finding a job. Complicating the matter, the housing bust made it difficult for people to sell their homes and move elsewhere to take a job, economists say.

A study by the National Employment Law Project found that older workers — those 45 and up — make up the largest slice of the long-term unemployed. African-Americans make up 20.8 percent. And men account for six out of 10.

Martinez was living in Los Angeles and pulling in $200,000 a year from a media sales job. Three years ago, he lost it.

Burning through cash, Martinez had to move back home with his parents in Sterling, Va., outside Washington. He landed another media sales job in the area in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. But four weeks later, he was laid off.

By his count, Martinez has sent out 2,500 resumes in the past year. He's researched would-be employers and written personalized cover letters. He hit a dry spell at the start of this year. Since then, Martinez says the job climate seems to have improved. He's interviewing again. But it's emotionally draining.

"It's tough not to have an interview, and it's just as tough to go on five or six or seven interviews and not get hired," he says.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/7038278.html


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up to 99 weeks?


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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The one time I was laid off, it was good for a max of 6 months and I thought that was a long time.I collected for a few weeks until I found a temporary job.... making far less than normal.. but an honest living earning money to pay my bills...... There is no way that the unemployment system is in the black or will be for a long time...

99 weeks is so close to two years its obscene... We are so over regulated that those people whom are out of work are so limited in what they can do to earn money... what incentive is there for people to look for work in the first 6 months if they can get the $ for over a year....

Like someone said in another topic.. "Free money"... no wonder why people stop paying mortgages and dont look for ways to earn money...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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I also think scott probably hasn't been unemployed in this downturn. I could be wrong but, I've heard from people who are long term unemployed and they've been turned down by Burger King simply because there are not enough jobs to go around....and these were guys with Masters who were at the top of their game when the layoff came.

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Those are all the things that motivated me to get a new job right away and would motivate a moral person... But there are so many that are not even looking for work today...

Business owners can expect to see unemployment ins. rates to go up to pay for these high unemployment numbers...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Those are all the things that motivated me to get a new job right away and would motivate a moral person... But there are so many that are not even looking for work today...

Business owners can expect to see unemployment ins. rates to go up to pay for these high unemployment numbers...

How long has it been since you looked for work?

If it's been a while, you might be startled by what is out there these days for the unemployed. There are a lot of part time positions. Some of those pay a decent wage but have no benefits. Even well-paying jobs look different than they did three to five years ago. Salaries are not keeping up with inflation at the entry level. It's hard to figure out if you might be able to afford the health insurance at your 'new' salary.

Months ago I read that for every position available, there are six other people looking for the same job. Six. That makes your odds of getting a position about 17%, IF you can even get the interview.

And I just noticed your use of the words "moral people". Very strong and very negative, IMO.

Edited by JohnnyQuest

Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

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What incentive is there to look for work while you are still getting your unemployment?

For starters, how about the fact that you may have lost your health insurance when you lost your job? The mere fact that you are drawing benefits doesn't automatically make you eligible for medicaid. If anything it will disqualify you.

What about just wanting to get out of the house everyday and get your life back? Being needed in the world is integral to self esteem.

What about the mortal fear that you will tap out any savings you have if there is a major expense? What about wanting and needing to replace things in your house that break; about being able to afford a car repair; about just being able to afford new clothing for interviews?

You must be mad if you think extended unemployment benefits alleviates the plight of the unemployed.

Good post. But, don't start expecting any deep thought here. Just look at the topic heading. It's comical to picture any illegals picking asparagus applying for the media sales jobs that Martinez is applying for. Yet, that's the OP's delusion.


Tahoma and Chinook's K1 story --->> PinayKano Scrapbook

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Good post. But, don't start expecting any deep thought here. Just look at the topic heading. It's comical to picture any illegals picking asparagus applying for the media sales jobs that Martinez is applying for. Yet, that's the OP's delusion.

:lol:

Yeah, there's barely an evil brown border-jumper within a hundred mile radius of where we live. Yet the unemployment rate is still over 9%.

Strange. I wonder how that can be?


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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:lol:

Yeah, there's barely an evil brown border-jumper within a hundred mile radius of where we live. Yet the unemployment rate is still over 9%.

Strange. I wonder how that can be?

That should keep peejay in deep thought for a while. :lol:


Tahoma and Chinook's K1 story --->> PinayKano Scrapbook

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That should keep peejay in deep thought for a while. :lol:

I doubt it. :P


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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I doubt it. :P

If I were in his shoes, I would be too embarrassed to own this post. B-)


Tahoma and Chinook's K1 story --->> PinayKano Scrapbook

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I'm now self employed.. contract work... I'm always looking to increase my income (looking for more work)... Actually doing really good in this down economy... much better $ than last year.. picking up houses to rent out as side money too...

'Moral' may seem harsh..but IMO if one is required to be actively looking for work to get the benefits and they are not... that is imoral in my book... I have seen so many people going into businesses and filing out an application for employment.. in the salary desired slot... they put 25/hr... as a clerk in an ice cream shop or a cafe? actively looking but sabotaging the process... I have come accross so many people that refuse to take jobs at wendys or any other place of that sort because it is beneath them...

Its clear that the dynamic of employment has changed and many sectors will not rebound or ever employ the same number of people again... retraining much like was done after 9-11 IMO is a great long term fix... better than just sending out checks as a short term fix...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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I'm now self employed.. contract work... I'm always looking to increase my income (looking for more work)... Actually doing really good in this down economy... much better $ than last year.. picking up houses to rent out as side money too...

'Moral' may seem harsh..but IMO if one is required to be actively looking for work to get the benefits and they are not... that is imoral in my book... I have seen so many people going into businesses and filing out an application for employment.. in the salary desired slot... they put 25/hr... as a clerk in an ice cream shop or a cafe? actively looking but sabotaging the process... I have come accross so many people that refuse to take jobs at wendys or any other place of that sort because it is beneath them...

Its clear that the dynamic of employment has changed and many sectors will not rebound or ever employ the same number of people again... retraining much like was done after 9-11 IMO is a great long term fix... better than just sending out checks as a short term fix...

What you've seen a few people do doesn't equal what everyone does, Scott.

But it's easy to sit back and size up everyone else when the situation doesn't apply to you. What is it they say - if you've got a job or income, there's no recession for you!

But........there is karma.


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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