I talked last week with Walnut Creek’s retiring city manager, Gary Pokorny, who acknowledged the 10-plus-percent unemployment rate nationally and in California but said locally, “there are some signs the economy is coming back.” He mentioned some new development coming to town, some interest in investing in the rental housing market.
But he also said “Obviously, the economy is still pretty awful.”
Yeah, no kidding.
I’m sorry, but I’m in the glass-half-empty camp mode now. I'm kind of a gloomy gal that way.
I know people who have been laid off, been jobless for months, and seen savings and their hopes for their kids’ and their own futures’ slip away.
We all know people who have been laid off, whether we’re talking about neighbors or co-workers. Or, you’re the manager or business owner who had the job of telling someone his or her services are no longer required.
I've been hearing about high-earning male breadwinners of households being laid off. What’s up with that?
And, I hear about highly skilled workers staying unemployed for months…. A contrasting image to claims by some Republicans that some of those long-term unemployed want to continue to coast along on their unemployment benefits.
Personally, I don’t know anyone who fits into this category. Everyone I know who is jobless or “underemployed” is desperately seeking that elusive goal—which wasn’t so elusive, once upon a time--the full-time job.
I’ve been through a layoff, although this was back in the dot-com bust. The recovery from that seems like a breeze compared with what we’re dealing with now.
The only upside—if you want to call it that—to being laid off in an economic downturn is that you don’t have to take it personally. You’re not getting laid off because you can’t perform. You’re losing your job because the company or the organization you work for can’t perform. Or because of larger macro-economic conditions beyond anyone’s control. That's it: The economy is slacking off and failing to uphold its responsibility as a productive worker and team player.
When I was laid off in 2003, I was the family breadwinner. It was scary. I did qualify for unemployment benefits, which helped us pay for our health care and other basic costs. I believed I earned those unemployment benefits, which I collected for about three months before I found another job. I had been paying into the system since I first started working fulltime at age 22.
Congress has deadocked on extending jobless benefits, which average about $310 per week and have been helping millions of families make ends meet.More partisan wrangling is rearing it’s ugly head on this issue, which is too bad. Without an extension, 454,000 jobless Californians will see an end to their benefit checks this month, according to Labor Department figures.