News / Economy

Long-Term US Unemployed Face Difficult Year

Long-Term US Unemployed Face Difficult Yeari
X
January 02, 2014 11:48 PM
Five years after the financial crisis, many indicators suggest a recovery is finally taking hold in the world’s largest economy. But as Mil Arcega reports, despite the prognostications, 2014 may prove to be a difficult year for some unemployed Americans.
Five years after the financial crisis, many indicators suggest a recovery is finally taking hold in the world’s largest economy.  U.S. gross domestic product is growing at its fastest pace in two years, and unemployment has fallen to pre-crisis levels.  Despite the prognostications, 2014 may prove to be a difficult year for some unemployed Americans.

We met Kathy Biscotti on New Year’s day.

"I’m 51 years old, born, bred, raised in Baltimore. My father was a plumber, my mother was a nurse. I’ve worked my whole life for everything I’ve ever had," said Biscotti.

Kathy lost her job as an office assistant six months ago. She received her last unemployment check on December 31.

"I received on Tuesday $332 and now I have to decide what to do. If I give it to my landlord, then I have no money at all," she said.

Biscotti is one of 1.3 million Americans grappling with the same dilemma. Congress allowed their extended unemployment benefits to lapse on December 28 - because conservative lawmakers said extending benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks makes people less likely to look for work.
 
Among them:  Republican Senator Rand Paul - who spoke on Fox News.

“If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," said Paul.
 
But advocates for the unemployed say that’s not true.  Christine Owens, executive director at the National Employment Law Project, says the majority of the four million Americans who receive benefits want to work.

“These are not folks who are just sort of sitting around on their couch watching TV and eating Christmas candies," she said. "These are people who have made a full time job out of trying to find another job."

For Biscotti - that's 10 to 20 job applications per week.

“I applied for a job yesterday.  There were 865 applications went in for that one job," she said.

Without benefits, Biscotti fears she could soon be homeless, unable to afford food or even bus fare for job interviews.  

Her New Year's resolution is to find work.

"I hope that things turn around in 2014 and I find a job," she said. "But I’m pretty much hopeless, in despair, discouraged, ashamed."

Lawmakers have extended long term benefits 11 times, something President Obama insists Congress needs to do when lawmakers return from holiday recess.

“I think we're a better country than that," he said. "We don't abandon each other when times are tough."

A bipartisan group is expected to introduce a three month extension when Congress resumes work. But proponents say it could be a tough sell.

Support for extended benefits has waned as the economy has improved. But despite recent job gains, the number of Americans unemployed 27 weeks or longer remains at a record high - representing about 40 percent of all unemployed Americans.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.