While many economists say this decade’s Great Recession ended in the middle of 2009, millions of struggling Americans who are still working hard to find meaningful employment would definitely disagree. And as we are all now well aware, the once thriving middle class is being hit especially hard—with a determination of whether you’re in a recession or recovery based largely on where you live and if you still have a job.
In the new year, the unemployment rate has, in fact, dropped incrementally from its staggering 10 percent highs in December 2009 to 9.7 percent, a small diminishment in the stats that some say exists because the long-term unemployed—the men and women out of work more than six months—have simply stopped looking for work. For these “long-termers,” making up some 40 percent of those collecting unemployment, these tiny changes in stats are far from comforting.
"These people, when you look at their unemployment rate, it's just off the charts," Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute told CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone. "It's very different from earlier patterns that we've seen in recessions.”
“For those who once worked in the auto industry, housing and manufacturing, new jobs could be a long time coming,” Achuthan adds, pointing out that, "Ten years ago, we had 18 million or so people in manufacturing; now, it's a little over 10 million. So you have 8 million jobs gone and there not coming back, ever."
In this case, the proof is largely in the pudding, as average Americans struggle to transition from job to job in this era of perpetual unemployment. Hammering this point home, CBS’s Blackstone also spoke with Kelley Novak, who used to own a restaurant in Napa, California, called the No Bad Day Café. In the months since Novak was forced from the restaurant business by falling revenues, she has been trying what is becoming a recession-worthy recipe: cooking up new ways to keep money flowing in at a time when finding a job seems impossible. Now she’s trying to feed folks on a diminished scale via a small catering business. "It' hard," she says, "because there's nothing available and, you know, you just have to get creative."
As is the case for many small businesses, the economic downturn hit her homegrown eatery especially hard. "We were down 30 percent like everybody else," Novak told CBS. Not only did she have to close her California restaurant, but Novak was forced to lay off all of her employees. "It was sad. It was really sad," Novak recalls.
With California's unemployment pushing over 12 percent, Novak understands it may be a long time before the six people who used to work at the No Bad Day Café can, as Blackstone put it: have “ a good day.” Blackstone found, “Many more may have to follow Novak's lead and find something they can do themselves - even though launching her catering business has been daunting, especially since she's doing it on her own. ‘It's just really frightening,’ says Novak. “But giving up is no answer.”
Novak is right. And another key to rebounding in a recession is knowing who can help. Extended unemployment is not only frightening, but can be fiscally devastating: draining savings, busting budgets, and leaving many bankruptcy bound.
A qualified bankruptcy attorney can assist proud, but jobless, citizens just like you to conquer your fears of losing it all. Specifically, the bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.