Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Number Of Available Jobs Down



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


It's getting a bit scary.

I know so many people who are out of work and just can't find jobs.

From the former vice president of a major foundation who used to be chased by head hunters. To my nephew in Detroit who can only find seasonal work at a bike shop (the pizza parlor he used to deliver for has gone out-of-business).

We're not talking about lazy people, no matter their social-economic status. We're talking about hard working Americans. Many who have worked without interruption except for vacations for decades. And just can't find jobs.

Here's a statistic that may set you back a bit. There are 50 percent fewer job openings today than there were in 2007. Fifty percent!

Now, the politicians and the economists say we're coming out of this deep recession. But for many people, it's not a recession. If they've been out-of-work long enough to have run out of unemployment benefits, to them it's a depression.

And as Robert Garcia so aptly reported here last week, the jobless figures are fudged. They don't include those no longer qualifying for benefits. Or who took a week or two off from hunting for jobs. Statistically, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Even though they are.

ProPublica, whose dispatches often appear on these pages, has been tracking the stimulus funds. The non-profit investigative reporting group has found that many of the shovel-ready jobs that they were supposed to create are still in the conceptual stages. Meaning, while the money's been authorized, people haven't been put to work.

Fifty percent fewer job openings, folks.

Meanwhile, the Wall Streeters are getting ready to feast. Thanks to the largess of We the People, they will be getting bonuses this week. That's right, the money we lent the financial institutions to keep them afloat has resulted in such solvency that they're awarding themselves bonuses. It hasn't, unfortunately, resulted in many homeowner loans.

Lots of people in this country are upside down on their mortgages. Meaning that their homes are worth less than their mortgage payments. The government has a refinance program. If you're having trouble paying your mortgage, you go to a non-profit and they help you craft an adjusted mortgage proposal to offer your lender. It sounds good, but my sister, who lives in horrifically hit Detroit, says that fewer than 3 percent of the proposed re-fi offers made through the program are accepted by the lenders. She should know. She's thoroughly researched this because she's upside down on three homes. Three.

She'll probably lose them, one-by-one. But that won't stop the bankers from celebrating their bonuses. Why should they. They aren't being put out in the cold by the sheriff, are they?

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Photo/http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetlove/3390155401/

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