Many Americas are unemployed and uncounted
14 Dec, 2010 22:32
The numbers, by any stretch, are staggering. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a 9.8 percent unemployment rate for the month of November, up from 9.6 percent the month before.
But by some estimates, that rate, which translates to 15 million people, is actually closer to 20 percent or 30 million people without a job.The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the rate by conducting a survey and considers people unemployed if they don’t have a job, have actively looked for work in the last four weeks, and are currently available for work, people like Zach Smith. “I had to sell my house, get rid of my car, so it’s just been really, the most difficult experience I’ve ever had in my life,” Smith said. “I have a college degree, good skills, good experience.”But no income, since his unemployment benefits have run out. He now stays with friends.“I don’t know how many others there are like me but there may be quite a few so it’s probably a lot worse than the figures are showing,” he added.Among those not counted; college graduates who can’t find their first job, those who haven’t sent out a resume in more than four weeks and those who simply would never be surveyed because they don’t have use a land line phone or a permanent residence.This includes people like Washington, DC resident Monica. Out of work for several months, she’s so far been ineligible for unemployment benefits and has not yet looked for a new job.She and her young daughter Alia live in a friend’s basement.“When I say hard, it is really hard to take care of my daughter,” she saidMonica said some days she can’t even afford to buy food.“I want to work. I want to go to a community college, get a good trade to be able to take care of her and myself as well,” said Monica.In the city where the laws of the land are made, it is a closer look at those left behind. Monica, just one of many heads that have not and most likely will not be counted.Formerly unemployed American turned YouTube sensation, George Hemminger, said entrepreneurship is the way to go. Hemminger now helps companies with their online strategy and is his own boss. However, not all are as lucky as him.“Everyday I’m talking to people that are, not only have no hope, they are hopeless with getting a job, because there are no jobs,” he said. “A total disaster.” Politicians are out of touch and out of the loop, Hemminger argued. They have no concept of what is is like to be an out-of-work American, “it’s ridiculous.” The solution is to be creative, think outside the box and forget the government. “You gotta give up,” he said. “You gotta give up on the concept of the job.”The best option is to be entrepreneurial.“Knock on your neighbor’s door and ask, hey, what can I do? Can I babysit your kids; can I mow your lawn? Go to businesses locally and say, can I deliver some of your products. You have to get rid of this idea of a job and go out into your community and start asking; what can I do?” Hemminger said. “Americans have to think out of the box and you’ve got to cut government out of the equation.”