News / USA

Unemployed Americans Search for 'Lifeline' Until Jobs Return

Multimedia

Carla Babb

Unemployed workers in the United States are eligible for up to 99 weeks of government-provided financial assistance. Those who have used up their benefits call themselves "99ers" in reference to this limit. VOA's Carla Babb reports on how one 99er is struggling to survive with absolutely no income.

Gregg Rosen lost his job as a sales manager nearly three years ago and is still unemployed.

"It literally is like something in a dream, to remember what it's like to actually be able to go out, and put in a day's work and receive a day's pay," he said.

At first, Rosen bought groceries and made house payments with the help from unemployment insurance. It pays laid off workers up to half of their previous wages while they look for work. But now, that insurance has run out for him, and he has to make tough choices. He's cut back on medications and he no longer helps support his disabled mother.

"That devastates me," said Rosen.

New research says the U.S. recession is now over, but many people remain unemployed. Economist Heidi Shierholtz says unemployed workers face impossible odds.

"There is literally only one job opening for every five unemployed workers, so four out of five unemployed workers have actually no chance of finding a new job," said Shierholtz.

Businesses have downsized or shut down on main streets across America, leaving fewer job opportunities for those in search of work.  Experts here in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, say about 28,000 people are out of work, and many are jobless due to no fault of their own.

That's where the Bucks County CareerLink and the county's Work Investment Board come in.  Local director Elizabeth Walsh says they provide training and guidance to help unemployed workers find local job opportunities.

"So here's the job opening, here's the job seeker, match them together under one roof," said Walsh.

But she says the lack of work opportunities in Bucks County limits how much she can help.

Rosen says he hopes Congress will take action.  

This month he launched the 99ers Union, an umbrella organization of 18 Internet-based grassroots groups of 99ers.  Their goal: to convince lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits.

"It's just one laser-focused campaign making our elected officials aware of the fact that we have finally joined together that we are now speaking up as one voice," said Rosen.

Pennsylvania State Representative Scott Petri says governments simply do not have enough money to extend unemployment insurance.

"Yes, you can keep feeding the benefits and the like, sooner or later that pool of money's gone and then you've got nothing," said Petri.

He thinks the best way to help the long-term unemployed is to allow private citizens to invest in local companies that can create more jobs.  But the boost in investor confidence needed for the plan to work will take time. Time that Rosen says still requires him to buy food and make monthly mortgage payments.

"You've got to continue to provide us with a lifeline so we can continue looking for opportunities until they return," he said.

Rosen says he'll use the last of his savings to try  to hang onto the home he worked for more than 20 years to buy. But once that money is gone, he says he doesn't know what he'll do.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid