(10AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
In January, the Associated Press reported that Ohio’s unemployment rate stood at 10.9% as of December 2009. That rate has fallen slightly in the six months or so since that news article, standing now at 10.7% according to the Dayton Daily News.
The number of unemployed workers in May dropped to 641,000 from 652,000 in April. During the past 12 months, the number of unemployed has gone up by 22,000 from 619,000. The May 2009 unemployment rate was 10.3 percent.
Anyone looking to call this an improvement needs to explain that thinking, because these are more than likely seasonal jobs that either have disappeared or will disappear.
For my home town of Cleveland, the unemployment rate is even worse: 17.1 percent according to Simply Cleveland. (In the interests of fuller disclosure, I have been unemployed since at least December of 2007, existing on financial aid and what food I can get from food pantries.)
Cleveland has an unemployment rate of 17.1%, compared the national average of 6.9%.
According to our Cleveland Trends data, the number of Cleveland, Ohio jobs has decreased by 28% since November 2008.
According to the same web source, median income for all Cleveland workers is a mere $21,112, with men earning a median income of $35,181 (working full time) to women’s full time median of $27,770. A pathetic eight percent of Clevelanders holds a Bachelor’s degree, which is only somewhat better than the laughable-if-it-weren’t-so-tragic five percent of Graduate degree-holders.
Cleveland Scene gave what is probably an exaggerated unemployment rate of 57%, but with things as bad as they are, it probably feels that high.
Now, this is incredibly depressing news. If one wanted to put a happier, more deceptive spin on the figures, one could lump Cleveland in with Elyria and Mentor to drive that 17.1% unemployment down to a more respectable, yet still alarmingly high, rate of 9.1% (as the Bureau of Labor Statistics did for May – scroll down to #209). But the fact is that Cleveland is suffering an economic Depression from which it cannot recover without a lot of help from state and federal coffers, which simply isn’t going to happen because the state and the fed simply don’t care, being busy and all with writing trillion-dollar checks to Wall Street and throwing lives and money away on endless, pointless wars.
Not that Cleveland is the absolute worst town for high unemployment. For that, you have to look to cities such as Detroit, Michigan, with one site giving a 17% unemployment rate for Black men and 12.8% for Black women – 20.9 percent overall for the Michigan-Warren-Livonia area (Cleveland’s Blacks suffer 16.5% unemployment). Overall, it was reported in April that unemployment in Detroit was 15.5% – better than Cleveland’s, but not by much. Interestingly, the same web site that posted those numbers gave a 13.7% jobless rate for May – note the change of word, from “unemployment” to “jobless”, thus giving the illusion of better figures.
And in California, the failed state governed by a lunatic right-wing actor turned lunatic right-wing politician, not even the BLS could spin its overall unemployment rate of 12.4%. Nevada had the highest at 14%.
Those are pretty dismal numbers. The fact is that there isn’t much anyone can do to help except run for public office and actually do something about it. Short of that, there isn’t a whole lot people can do except donate what they can to charity and offer kind words of encouragement. If you plan on offering words, though, you might want to bear in mind the following:
- Don’t tell us to go out and get a job. We are trying. We don’t need to be told to do something we’re already doing. Telling us who are unemployed the obvious doesn’t help at all, and in fact is more likely to further damage our already much-diminished confidence as frustration at finding nothing piles up. Likewise, don’t tell us that we need to get jobs. YA THINK?!?
- Don’t say that we would be working if we really wanted to, because that is a lie. And don’t say that we really don’t want to work. We who are unemployed want to work. I don’t know the exact numbers and can only guess, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us who are jobless want to work. But as they say, if wishes were kisses…
- This is related to #2. Don’t give us unreasonable, unrealistic information about job openings and then use it as an excuse to accuse us of not wanting to work. If someone is unemployed and has no reliable transportation of his or her own, don’t advise us to apply for a job that requires us to possess that, such as pizza delivery. It’s a waste of our time and yours, it’s insulting, and it’s condescending. Don’t be so bloody contemptuous of our situation that you would play these games with us.
- If you’re going to offer any advice, tips on résumé-building would be welcome. If you don’t know that information, it might help to find out where we can go to update our résumé so that we have a better shot at getting an interview. Likewise, doing roleplay scenarios for interviewer and interviewee can do wonders for building our confidence.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to offer those of us without access to cars of our own rides to and from work as needed and possible. Even if some of us manage to find places that are hiring, lack of adequate transportation is one of the largest barriers to obtaining jobs. No one is going to hire someone who can’t get to and from work in a timely manner. And no, these places don’t have other positions open that don’t require self-transportation. If they did, they would advertise them.
Just some things to consider the next time you have a chat with an unemployed person.