People who want a job but aren’t actively looking are called “discouraged workers” by the Labor Dept. CNN is calling them the “hopelessly unemployed,” and there are a lot of them: “Five years ago, before the recession began, about 2.5 million people said they wanted a job but hadn’t searched for one in at least a year. Now, that number is around 3.25 million.”
Seven years later, I was back in Seattle and on unemployment again. I received a letter in the mail telling me that I had to report to the local WorkSource, Washington State’s unemployment office, in two weeks to have my resume reviewed, take classes on resume writing, looking for work, interviewing, and other training courses.
Two days ago, I removed my pastrami sandwich from the office fridge, found two pieces of gum stashed underneath my computer monitor, and walked out of my poorly-paid internship in the middle of the work day without telling my editors. I quietly quit.
There are few things that both the Democratic and Republican tickets agree on, but one of them is the importance of getting the unemployed into job retraining programs. The question is: Do job retraining programs work?
It’s 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday in Los Angeles. I’m one of the 60-plus people anxiously waiting in Lobby 1 of the Department of Social Services. I’m not the only one here seeking government aid, but I’m 100 percent sure I’m the only person sitting here with a bachelor’s degree from one of the country’s top private Universities.
There were a few months during the recession when I joined the ranks of the unemployed, and I forced myself to treat each day like a work day.
According to the Associated Press, a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper says that this is a publicity stunt done in bad taste. It may also be a visceral representation of how a lot of out-of-work Americans are actually feeling right now.