“Finding a good job nowadays is like winning the lottery” proclaimed a waitress recently.  She was a showgirl in Vegas but got too old for the routines so her and her husband moved to Los Angeles.  Her husband had a lucrative job there but lost it.  He was unemployed for 18 months; she couldn’t find work either.  After the couple burnt through their savings, they eventually lost their home.  Then they decided to relocate to a suburb of Indianapolis.  In their early 60s, both are too young to draw Social Security yet.  Their plight is a familiar one for many.

The current U.S. unemployment rate is 7.7%.  12 million people are unemployed – a figure far greater than that of the population of America’s largest city – New York, New York has a population of a little over 8 million.  7.1% of adult men, 7% of adult women, 13.8 % of Blacks, 9.6% of Hispanics, and 25.1 % of Teenagers are out of work.

Teenagers are experiencing their own Great Depression these days because the unemployment rate during that arduous 10 years of lack was at 25% also.  Teens are experiencing an elevated loss because adults who can’t find work are resorting to taking minimum-wage jobs, thus displacing the young at a disproportionate rate.

Currently, California & Rhode Island lead the nation with unemployment rates of 9.8%.  North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in America at 3.3%.  Oil & Natural Gas exploration on private land in that state is a contributing factor in that state’s robust economy.

In a recent interview with hiring managers in Central Indiana one said they had a position open for a construction project manager job within their company and they received 1,100 resumes for that one job.  Another Human Resource Director stated his company had three available positions open and “We got hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of resumes.  We were shocked by how many we got.  We had no idea how bad the job market was.  It’ll take days to sort em’ all out!”

The unemployed are fighting an uphill battle because there are literally more people looking for work than jobs available.  Many feel like salmon swimming upstream and those carnivorous circumstances of life have devoured their chance for success.

In another recent interview with a Resume Expert, she claimed employers are being inundated with so many resumes that, on average, they only look at the top of the front page and give less than 10 seconds of contemplation on each before deciding to discard it or look at it again later.

An Administrative Law Judge in the upper Midwest said: “A record number of unemployed are running out of benefits and they then sign up for disability.  The system used to be tough to get benefits, but now it’s not that way at all.  Claims are pretty much rubber stamped for many who aren’t really disabled at all.”

There is a horde of discouraged workers in America.  Discouraged workers are people who aren’t looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.  Currently, 1.7 million people have not searched for work in the last 4 weeks.  And there are another 6.8 million people who said they wanted a job but weren’t even looking – they, too, are discouraged – but those people aren’t factored into the current rate of 7.7%.  If they were the unemployment rate would approach 15%.

The plight of the unemployed will intensify because due to automatic federal spending cuts, known as sequestration, weekly payments of Federally Extended Unemployment Insurance benefits, also known as EEUC, will be reduced by 10.7% beginning Monday, April 8, 2013, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The reduction will remain in effect until the end of September 2013.

4,213,000 private-sector jobs have been lost since President Obama was first inaugurated, yet only 102,000 Government jobs have been lost.  4.6 million more Americans are in poverty under the lackadaisical eye of this administration.  There’s been a 46% increase in food stamp consumption and gas prices have went up 106% since Mr. Obama won in 2008.

No doubt many of you know someone unemployed.  Drawing an unemployment check isn’t a decent living at all, it’s miniscule at best, comparable to earning minimum wage, until those benefits expire, and desperation sets in.  The unemployment rate isn’t just a bunch of stats, it’s real pain-and-suffering, great loss, its people, it’s our fellow Americans we all-too-often ignore.

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.    

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