News / USA

    Unemployed Americans Search for 'Lifeline' Until Jobs Return

    Multimedia

    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.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her bylines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.