Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why is it that one has to turn to Al Jazzera for a sympathetic view of the suffering resulting from the U.S. unemployment situation?

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data April 2, 2010:
153.9 million civilian labor force

15.0 million unemployed
         6.5 million long term (27 weeks or more)
9.1 million involuntary part-time workers
2.3 million marginally attached
1.0 million discouraged
27.4 million = 17.8% of entire force is unemployed or under employed

There are more than 6 jobless workers chasing one opening.

March 25: over 11.1 million claiming unemployment benefits 

But these are just numbers.  Where do we find stories of the human misery suffered by 11.1 to 27.4 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.

I decided to search "U.S. unemployment" in the New York Times for the past 30 days. Here's what I found:
4 Economix blog posts and reader comments (all bland demographics)
2 Economy: Business columns (one AP statistics from the Labor Department, the other a Bernanke speech warning of the impending "need" for "modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare")
2 Politics: U.S. columns (one featuring Tom Coburn asserting that added unemployment benefits "is theft," the other taking up immigration issues)
1 Times Topics entitled "Unemployment" (reviewing the history of the Current Population Survey and puzzling over the "bizarre combination of a falling employment rate and a falling unemployment rate")
1 Opinion: Letter (defending the "unemployment industry" against a remark in a 3 April 2010 Times column to the effect that the purpose of the industry is "helping employers process — and fight — unemployment claims")

That 3 April column appeared in the Times' U.S.: U.S. Section and was somehow missed by the Times' search engine when I searched on "U.S. unemployment." Unlike the ones brought up by my search above, this column actually evoked sympathy for victims of the thriving new "unemployment industry" (see picture).

For any of you interested in being exposed to more of the human side of U.S. unemployment situation, the following Al Jazzera broadcast is a "don't miss."

More at The Real News

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