How Many Safety Nets Do You Have?

How many nets would each of us crash through before we ran out of options? It's not the world's happiest thought, but it's certainly something I've wondered about more than once in my adult life. (By "more than once" I really mean "more than once a month." Adulthood is scary.)

The Other Side of the Desk

I could tell the man sitting across from me was nervous. He had almost as many years of experience as I had years of life. My questions seemed to throw him off. He came in wearing a suit that didn’t fit him very well. He was sweating.

The Unemployed Extrovert

American culture encourages gregariousness and socializing, and being an extrovert makes going to parties and striking up conversations with strangers nearly effortless. But when you're the type of person who goes out more often than you stay in, you realize that there's a cost to being an extrovert. When I lost my job, I had to learn to balance spending as little money as possible with accepting that socializing and stimulation is essential for me to function.

Uneducated, Poor White Women Are Dying Younger

In The American Prospect, Monica Potts examines why low-income white women who don't finish high school in the U.S. have seen their life expectancy drop by five years, while most Americans, including high school dropouts of other races, have seen their life expectancies rise. Though Potts walks us through the story of Crystal Wilson, who lived in Cave City, Arkansas and died at the age of 38, the answer still remains unclear.

Sudden Unemployment

I woke up on a recent Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. with a slight hangover and nowhere to go, except maybe to my laptop to casually browse the internet for some sort of inspiration. I no longer had to program my alarm for 7:10 a.m., and it was no longer of a pressing nature to get to the gym before going to work because, well, there was no work, and truth be told, no desk job was forcing me to be bound to a desk. I could do Zumba in my living room at 2 p.m. if I wanted to, provided my downstairs neighbors weren’t feeling too cantankerous.

Homeless Woman Arrested For Leaving Kids In Her Car During Job Interview

Well, this is very sad:
Shanesha Taylor, a woman from Scottsdale, Arizona, is homeless. So when she got asked to come in for a job interview last Thursday, she must have been excited by the prospect. But when you’re homeless, there isn’t always an easy way to take an hour off from watching your kids to be at an interview. That’s how Taylor, 35, wound up losing her children to Child Protective Service — and losing out on the potential job.

Economists, Reporters Discuss the Most Important Economic Stories of 2013

The Atlantic asked 41 reporters and economists from across the U.S. what the most important economic story of 2013 was according to data and graphs. Here’s Heidi Moore:

Here’s why I love this chart: it nails the issue with the inequality at the center of our economy right now. Corporate profits are our only consistently rising metric of economic success. Everything else that matters is bumping along the bottom. Job openings have only modest gains, and nowhere near what we had before the crash. Personal income is stagnant. Unemployment is still absurdly high. That leads to the policy question: is it our goal as a country to fuel only corporate profits? Or do we have some other responsibility to the citizenry?

And here’s Eddy Elfenbein from Crossing Wall Street:

Here’s the Medicals Costs portion of the CPI divided by the Core CPI. This trend has been rising for decades, but it’s slowed down recently. It’s still too early to call is a trend. But obviously, if healthcare inflation soon becomes like regular inflation, then it’s a game changer.

There’s a lot more and a lot of interesting data to think about here, but basically, the labor market has not been great, but the stock market and corporate profits did well in 2013.

My Father Lost His Job

I just got word today that my father got laid off after 30-something years at his company.

How to Tell if You’re About to Get Laid Off

Hindsight is 20-20. My nearsighted eyes are not, but there isn’t much I can do about that right now. I can’t afford to visit an optometrist for a new pair of glasses. My vision insurance, along with my sense of self-worth and steady biweekly paychecks, were ripped away from me last month when I was laid off. I hadn’t seen the axe coming and was devastated by the news. I might also have been financially ruined were it not for the existence of unemployment insurance and a committed partner I can rely on to pick up any financial slack.

An Unemployed Parent’s Job Hunt

In Motherlode, Andrea Pate, a mother with two children talks about how difficult it has been finding a job—even a minimum wage one—and making ends meet. Pate lives in Milwaukee where the unemployment rate is significantly higher than the national average at 9.8 percent.

Suicide and the Economy in 1937

Elizabeth Macbride discovered her great-grandfather didn’t fall in front of a train in 1937 but lay in front of it deliberately. Her search to figure out why is touching and sad. (“Men still, more than women, define their self-worth by how much money they make and their occupations. That partly goes to explain why the suicide rate is three times higher among men than women.”)