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F**KED: The United States of Unemployment

Salon’s got a great series of videos exploring the lives and coping strategies of “the 99ers”—no, not the 99%, although they are certainly a part of that, too—the people who have exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment insurance and have nowhere else to turn.

In this most recent installment, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Immy Humes listens to members of the longtime unemployed tell how the Occupy movement inspired them. There is something in the emotional core of this short film that captures perfectly, I think, the life-affirming realization of “Holy shit, this is really happening and it’s wonderful” that went on for those few months last Fall. Almost more than any other document I’ve seen about Occupy Wall Street, this one really speaks to the kind of experience I personally had there. It captures what it inspired in many people.

For our 99ers, an informal group of jobless New Yorkers who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, the Occupy Wall Street movement came as a dream fulfilled.

As the protests took root in Zuccotti Park, the 99ers found a mass of people who care about the plight of the jobless and want to do something about it. As seen in last week’s episode of our video series, “Occupy Meets MacArthur’s Tanks,” Occupy Wall Street is just the latest in a long line of American protest movements demanding economic justice. The emergence of the Occupy movement, one 99er said, felt “like the early stages of a revolution.”

And then the question arose: What do America’s jobless want? As the video shows, the 99ers have some answers.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Unemployment: The Gathering Storm
10:50 am


Charles Hugh Smith



Dangerous Minds’ super smart pal Charles Hugh Smith has penned another must-read essay over at his Of Two Minds blog (we’re dangerous, but he’s got two!) about the issue that no one seems to want to talk about, structural unemployment. That’s what happens when the jobs that were lost never come back:

In “normal prosperity” then an uptick in unemployment is not too worrisome because people find another job within a year. But when the economy sheds jobs relentlessly, then people become long-term unemployed: they can’t find a job this year, or next year, or the year after that. This is also called structural unemployment.

What few are willing to accept is that the U.S. economy is entering a decades-long period of structural unemployment in which there will not be enough jobs for tens of millions of citizens. My January analysis remains conservative; given the end of the credit/debt bubble and other structural issues, it seems very likely that the U.S. economy might have about 100 million jobs in a few years—leaving some 35 to 40 million people without formal full-time work or employer-paid benefits.

Since we’re already at 26.3 million unemployed/under-employed, losing 10 million more jobs is really not much of a stretch. That would leave 36 million people without full-time work or any work at all and about 100 million still employed.

That’s just the set-up. It gets much bleaker!

Unemployment: The Gathering Storm by Charles Hugh Smith

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment