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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

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