San Francisco (Obama.net)- After the American economy crashed two years ago, few would have wondered that it would take this long to rebound. While the stock market has recovered to a degree and many industries are on the cusp of becoming profitable once again, the economy is still down. Even with the hard work of President Barack Obama that has helped America and the economy recover as much as it possibly could by this point, one result of the recession has yet to make the strides expected: unemployment.
For the last year and two months, the average unemployment rate in the United States has been at least 9.5 percent without fail. In order to help Americans in this time of need where standards of living are also higher than ever, the House of Representatives and the Senate collectively decided to extend benefits to the unemployed for an unprecedented 99 weeks. The cost of the extension ended up being greater than $100 billion.
While the move was well received by Americans who needed the extension desperately, now there is a problem. For an estimated 1.5 million citizens, their 99 weeks are up and they are still jobless. Even though jobs have been created in the past 14 months, most of the jobs set to be available via Obama’s initiatives have yet to become open.
Even California’s Silicon Valley has suffered. Widely regarded at the technological capital of the world, even this innovative area is not creating jobs nearly as much as it was just a couple of years ago.
The job crisis has highly impacted the lives of countless Americans.
There are numerous tales of hard working Americans who have been at their jobs for years and were then laid off once the crisis hit. While some saved enough money to last them years and others were able to find new jobs, others weren’t at lucky.
There are too many stories about people who did not have much money saved up and thus ran through it quickly, ended up losing their homes and belongings, and found themselves either living in their cars or on the couches and in the spare rooms of friends who were lucky enough to not be hit by the recession.
To make matters worse, for some of these people, there is very little if any hope in sight, as there appear to be no jobs opening up in their lines of work.
Marianne Rose is one of the people. In her experience, the fight for a job is extremely difficult. She told reporters that she had applied for a job with the county, but she soon learned that she was one of more than two thousand people going after the same four job openings.
In Silicon Valley, the members of the community have joined together in weekly meetings called “Job Connections” where they received advice on how to locate job openings and get to network with each other.
Most of the attendees of these meetings are in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Most all of them also have not only college degrees, but master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s as well. Furthermore, due to the crisis, many of those well-educated, highly qualified men and women have also spent all of their 401k’s just to survive.
There is much worry for this demographic of the unemployed. Those in their 40’s and 50’s are not old enough to retire, but also old enough to where many potential employers might not hire them because they would rather hire a younger worker who would be with the company for years to come.
These men and women are losing homes that they have spent decades living in. They are going from high-level jobs, to jobs that high school kids get so they can afford nice shoes for prom. As in the case of Jim Wild, he went from being a fiber optics engineer manager to a job at a local Target. But in this economic situation, a job is a job and as long as it pays the bills, Americans will take them.
Today, numerous buildings sit empty without workers in them. College graduates sit on the unemployment line. Unemployment sits at 9.5 percent. But another 7.5 percent of the population have had their hours rolled back at work or who have completely gave up hope and stopped looking for jobs.
For the first time since the days of the Great Depression 80 years ago, these people are not only out of work, but have been for over a year.
To make matters worse, 4.5 million have had to take money out of their 401k’s.
With the benefit extensions exhausted, many are now forced to take charity. Because of the crisis, former business executives and the homeless are now one of the same when it comes to where they get their food from in many instances.
With no new extension in sight, the hope is for the jobs set by the Obama administration to come into fruition sooner rather than later.
Until that day, millions of Americans can do nothing more but fight and hope to survive another day.