unemployment

Revised numbers out today show Massachusetts added 55,200 jobs last year, almost all of them in the private sector. State officials say it is the largest number of new jobs in a December-to-December period since 2000. The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in January. The Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Rachel Kaprielian, said the job gains were varied.

    

  Today 4.7 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. In France more than ten percent of the working population is without work. In Israel it’s above seven percent. And in Greece and Spain, that number approaches thirty percent. Across the developed world, the experience of unemployment has become frighteningly common—and so are the seemingly endless tactics that job seekers employ in their quest for new work.

Flawed System/Flawed Self delves beneath these staggering numbers to explore the world of job searching and unemployment across class and nation.

    We are bombarded every day with numbers that tell us how we are doing, whether the economy is growing or shrinking, whether the future looks bright or dim. Gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few of us know where these numbers come from, what they mean, or why they rule our world.

Nationally, Republicans are still fighting unemployment relief and virtually every piece of a public safety net. Their solution to every problem is to blame the victim. Out of work? Must be because people didn't look, or just like poverty. Never mind people spending their days looking for work. It must be their fault, because the only victims worth caring about, of what we politely call the business cycle, are businessmen. Everything would be fine if people would work for pennies a day like much of the world, so the companies they work for could pocket the difference while workers forego food, clothing, shelter and health.

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The end of 2013 also marks the end of benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans.

Checks from the federal government providing aid to those unemployed for more than 30 weeks stopped for nearly 1,000 people in Berkshire County this week. John Barrett is the director of Berkshire Works, an organization that provides career-driven services and unemployment assistance.

NYS Jobless Rate Drops

Dec 23, 2013
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A sign that New York State's economic fortunes are on an uptick — some encouraging numbers have been released by the labor department.

State officials say New York's unemployment rate dropped from 7.7 percent in October to 7.4 percent in November, the lowest level in nearly five years.  Career-transition expert Dan Moran with NextAct of Colonie says while the number may seem small, it is "significant."  "That's a nice, healthy drop in the unemployment rate, and as well the number of new jobs that hit the market. We are seeing real job growth."

A new report on the status of workers finds the period since the 2008 market crash may turn out to be a “lost decade” for New Yorkers, as wages stagnate and the average time for unemployment lengthens.

Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Vermont's unemployment rate has climbed to 4.6 percent in July, the third consecutive month reporting an increase in the state's rate.

New numbers just out on consumer confidence in New York State and employment nationwide are leading to cautious optimism from those who monitor the pulse of the economy.

The latest numbers on consumer confidence for New York State show some improvement. The latest New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment survey from Siena College’s Siena Research Institute shows that consumer optimism grew in June for the the second month in a row.

Mark Crawley / Flickr

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has voted to restore funding to a program designed to assist at-risk youth in finding summer employment that is facing cutbacks.

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