Thursday, September 16, 2010
Jobs Jobs Jobs and No Jobs
The unemployment figures came out and new claims for unemployment were down but overall the number is still at 9.6%. That's according to the Labor Dept. I realize that the other issue is that it's difficult to keep track of a running average but there's another figure that's not reported. That would be the number of people who've run out of unemployment (the 99ers) that aren't counted. What, we've become non people all of a sudden?
The true tragedy in those latter uncounted numbers is what's happening to them. Through no fault of their own they were cut from the payroll. Some may have been empire builders spending beyond their means but I suspect most were just going about their lives with no clue as to what was about to happen. When housing collapsed it took with it mortgage banking and construction. Unless you bought your place many years ago you soon found yourself upside down with your mortgage. With no job and relying on unemployment you find 2/3 of the checks going to a house payment. You're stuck. You can't sell your house to pay off the mortgage and you can't afford to live there much longer.
I'm sure many of these people walked away from their homes and are now either renting or living with relatives or worse. But with the end of unemployment there's an even larger problem. The 99ers are draining their savings to survive. They are also cashing out their retirement plans. What's left of their retirement plans after the Wall Street melt down is being slowly used up. That's not going to last very long considering the average IRA is around $45,000.
Today the figures for poverty came out and it's not good. Forty three million people in poverty is the highest in 51 years. As incomes decline and more fall into the 99er class I'm sure the poverty numbers will rise.