Just Some Americans Living the American Dream

From CNN Money, five stories of the hopeless unemployed (you know, people who don’t have jobs and have stopped looking  for jobs because they have found the job search to be … hopeless).  Anyway, here’s what we’ve got:

—A 53-year-old former manager who is “too old to start an entry-level job and I’m too young to retire.”

—A 42-year-old cancer survivor (“Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I worked for the state of Oregon and was the number one service manager for the Department of Human Services. My job was to help low income families find work and get food stamps and insurance. Now, I cannot even get a job at McDonalds, and I’m the one living on social assistance.”)

—A 24-year-old grad student who went back to school because he couldn’t find a job (“I also took out the full amount in student loans, and I’m very worried about that. But basically, I had to make a choice between hard times now or hard times later.”)

—A 49-year-old former admin worker who was laid off, worked in a factory, tried to go back to school, ran out of financial aid, and now is trying to start a business (“What’s the worst that could happen? We can’t end up any worse off than we are now. And it’s better than taking a part-time, minimum-wage, whatever job.”)

—A 58-year-old man who worked for the same corporation for 28 years, was laid off, and applied for corporate jobs for years  before giving up. He now lives off a small pension (“At this point in my life, I cannot get my head around starting over again. I realize that whatever I do, it will have to be something independent.”)

These people are not outliers. There are 3 million “discouraged workers” in this country.

Surviving Unemployment by Going to Disneyland

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.

Dying for Work

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.

Hopelessly Devoted to Wanting a Job

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.”

A Visit to Seattle’s Unemployment Office

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.

Tales from the ‘Lost Generation’: Newly Unemployed

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.

Are Retraining Programs Effective for the Unemployed?

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?

Standing in the County Line

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.

Out-of-Work out on Long Island

What it's like to be unemployed and living on Long Island.