Unemployment Ravages the Nation

Elizabeth Lenczowski

As the nation’s economy rollicks in the red, the workforce struggles to maintain their employment, not to mention their sanity. It was announced in October that the new unemployment rate reached 10.2%, and one month later it fell minutely.  This is the highest number of unemployed people in 26 years, when the percent of jobless people in the workforce climbed to 10.8.

The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of the labor force that is jobless and actively looking for work.  The civilian labor force consists of people over the age of 16 who are employed or actively searching for employment.  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys the workforce in 60,000 homes each month in order to calculate the unemployment rate. This percentage does not incorporate those in the military, schools, prisons, other institutions, nor the underemployed, who are currently working part time and wish to work full-time.

The age group of 16 to 19 year-olds has the highest unemployment rate, and will most likely be fired first and hired last.

“It was pretty difficult to get a job because the majority of places were not hiring due to the economy,” said senior Gerry Franco, who has worked at TJ Maxx in Moraga for over a year.  “Or they didn’t want to hire teenagers. I had to bug TJ Maxx over and over again about my application until I finally got interviewed.”

This poses an ugly threat to Miramonte students who count on their jobs.

“I rely on my job tremendously because without having a job I wouldn’t have been able to buy my car completely by myself and pay the other fees with owning a car or help out my mother because we definitely aren’t from a wealthy background,” said Franco.

Balancing school, sports, homework, and over 20 hours of work each week is a considerable, but rewarding challenge for Franco.

“Working retail is not a fun job at all, but I’m very thankful for having a job and [it] has given me much more responsibility and discipline,” said Franco.

On the national scale, President Obama held a “Job Summit” on Dec. 3 at the Whitehouse that opened up the floor to business executives, economists, and heads of labor unions on the subject of employment.

Faced with an expanding deficit, the President hopes to make efficient job creation plans. Many think that innovation and credit are the key to creating jobs. One idea expressed at the job forum was a program of weatherization for households and small businesses, to promote clean energy.  The relatively new and growing green industry provides the United States with an opportunity to employ its citizens.

The latest information revealing December’s unemployment numbers will be release on Jan. 8, 2010 at 8:30 am Eastern Time.