The country’s unemployment rate is not expected to decline for several years, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee yesterday.
“It could take four to five more years for the job market to normalize fully,” Bernanke said.
The Labor Department reported yesterday that 103,000 workers found jobs last month, fewer than experts had predicted. “If we continue at this pace, we’re not going to see sustained declines in the unemployment rate,” Bernanke said.
The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent. Much of that gain was said to be the result of people who have given up looking for work, and who are therefore no longer counted as unemployed.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis remained positive yesterday. “The policies and programs of this administration have pulled the economy from collapse,” she said in a statement. Solis praised President Obama for forging an agreement with Republicans that “included a much needed extension of Unemployment Insurance — providing a lifeline for millions of Americans as they search for work.” Solis made no mention of the 99ers — those unemployed who have exhausted all available benefits — in her statement.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinios) yesterday on the floor of the House called for the unemployed to send him their resumes.
“Today, I began an effort to mobilize the unemployed, the under-employed and the economically desperate. I will be collecting resumes of out-of-work Americans in order to submit them for the Congressional Record as a way of putting a face on the jobs crisis we confront. By sending their resumes to me, the unemployed will be permitting me to use their stories as we fight for jobs and enter their curriculum vitae into the Record,” Jackson said in a statement.
“Of course, sending me a resume will not put anybody first in line for a job. It will not be forwarded to anybody who is hiring. But it will put the jobs issue front and center before the government so that we can remind elected officials that we need to go to work everyday for those who aren’t allowed to go to work everyday, but want to,” he added.
As the unemployed scour the country for jobs, they are being buffeted back and forth by forces outside their control. Often, people are offered jobs, only to have the offer rescinded.
The following is part of an email received from reader Eugene in California.
“I was able to locate and [almost] land a job. I went through the whole nine yards — interview, background check, references, and drug screen. I was offered a job,and was told to report the following Monday for work. I was ecstatic! At this point in time, I was unemployed for 5 months. By Thursday,[ 5 days before my job start] I received an ominous call. The employer called to let me know the job for which I had been hired was canceled! I couldn’t believe it! I went through the motions, only to be told the job was canceled … I am 57 years old. I have 3 teenage daughters [living with my ex]. I don’t want to leave California because of them. I can’t believe that my life has brought me to this moment. Homelessness. I had tried pursuing jobs here in Southern California. I spread my range by looking into Northern California as well. As of last year  I began maximizing my range further by pursuing jobs in Co, Nv, Tx, Ny, Pa, Md, Va,Or and Wa. All to no avail. However, this has become a push come to shove situation, and I must do what I need to do, where ever that may lead me.”
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