US economy now close to stall speed. From anemic recovery to tipping point to stall speed and growth recession. Is a double dip next?Yet another reason I am simply relieved, even more than happy, that I have a job. A job that is secure. With indefinite tenure.
But, often across from me is the reality--students who are going to find it extremely difficult to find any job at all.
Yesterday, it was another lesson on the painful reality of unemployment.
I was merrily walking along the bikepath by the river, enjoying the fantastic spring day here. Low 70s and nothing bu the sun.
And then all of a sudden I see a woman sprawled out on the grass by the path, with her cycle down, and a guy helping her out.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" I asked them. She asked me to hand her the water bottle that was on her bike.
The guy was wiping the blood of her knee and shin. Without lifting his head, he asked me "what is the shortest way from here to the main road for her friend to pick her up in a car?" I had no idea. I mean, I knew that there was one route, but that was at least half a mile to the road.
I offered to wait with her if he wanted to bike up to the nearby homes to figure things out. He thought that might work.
While he was gone, I asked her how she was. She was in a great deal of pain--couldn't move her left leg. An older woman on her bike stopped by. She took out her first aid kit--yes, she had one in a carrier in her bike--and before beginning to wipe the blood asked her "are there any pathogens in your blood I should be worried about?"
What an important question to ask in a very respectful way, I thought to myself.
Meanwhile, a couple more people stopped by. All of us at some point asked the same question: should we call the emergency folks?
This is where the reality of unemployment kicks in. She didn't want to call for the ambulance because "I have no insurance and am unemployed. I can't afford to pay for it."
It is awfully shocking to come head-to-head with that kind of a reality. A reality that exists only as a theoretical and intellectual possibility for me, but is everyday life for many.
She lucked out in a way--a fire engine and emergency crew happened to be on the bike path for some other reason, and they gave her emergency care that she needed. And bundled up her leg. They advised her to head to ER, but she preferred to go home with her friend. The fire chief drove to get the get friend's vehicle over to the bike path and load her into the car.
A half-hour had gone by as I resumed my walk. All the sight of blood and sound of pain had made me queasy. I was afraid I was going to either throw up or pass out. Am glad I know my own limits and tolerances when it comes to such situations. I couldn't wait to get home and drink a whole lot of water and settle my stomach and my mind.
Thus, after a good night sleep, here I am blogging about unemployment. I can't but help wonder and worry that there is very little public discussion about the high levels of unemployment. And, an unemployment where the jobless are being so for weeks on.
We are in historic territory when it comes to such long-term unemployment:
The average unemployed person in America has been looking for work for 39.7 weeks, or more than nine months. That is the longest average unemployment spell since the Labor Department started keeping track in 1948Robert Reich writes:
The overall jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent.
Together with plummeting housing prices, falling wages for non-supervisory workers, a paltry 1.8 percent growth in the first quarter, and a precipitous drop in consumer confidence, the picture should be clear to anyone able to see clearly.
The recovery has stalled.
We’re not in a double dip yet, but the odds are increasing.
The question is whether all this will wake up Washington, and stop the monumental distraction of the games being played over the debt ceiling and long-term budget deficit. The Republican lie that the nation’s long-term budget deficit is responsible for high unemployment would be laughable if it weren’t so tragically irrelevant to the current situation.