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Now What? America’s Long Term Unemployed Plea With Politicians for Solutions, Not Just Talk

The US labor market is strengthening, according to economists,  despite the fact the most recent Labor statistics show an increase in the number of Americans filling for unemployment benefits.

Continuing claims are also down for the fifth straight week, suggesting some long-term employed might finally be finding work.

Yet, for some, the fact that they are no longer on the unemployment rolls is not good news – having exhausted all their benefits, and with the House Republicans blocking further unemployment extensions,  they no have nowhere to turn to pay their bills, no more benefits and no job in sight.

For these Americans, life has turned into a slow decline into poverty, homelessness and despair and they are tired of politicians playing with their lives instead of getting them the help they need to feed their families or better yet, a job.

“No one would ever choose to be part of the long-term unemployed, and it cuts like a knife to hear elected officials insinuate we are simply lazy or unskilled; nothing is further from the truth. I am at the end of my rope. Emergency Unemployment Compensation program WAS my only lifeline!,” one long-term unemployed person wrote on a Center for Effective Government site, which collects testimonials from hard-hit Americans.

Another single mother whose home is in foreclosure said she has tried everything to get a job to no avail and Washington does not seem to care. “The job opportunities have not come back. The mortgage company is hot to sell my home in foreclosure. I am so upset, depressed, and hopeless. I have signed petitions, e-mailed news media, senators, House Speaker Boehner, and President Obama. I don’t know what else to do or say anymore.”

Still another unemployed worker said he spends everyday at the computer looking for work but can’t pay his bills. “With no extensions, how do you pay your bills? They don’t stop coming in. You have no job, no unemployment, no money coming in… I am 55 and have no retirement or anything to look forward to.”

Unfortunately for these Americans – many that have spent a lifetime working and contributing to the American economy – the chance of them ever landing an elusive, well-paying job is grim. A recent report by the Brookings Insitute found only one in ten Americans out of work for more than six months found a full-time job. The rest were forced to rely on sporadic work and part-time work to pay at least some of their bills and most remained in poverty long term.

This means sadly, many of the long-term unemployed do not face a bright future, even if America’s economy picks up, especially when they run out of unemployment benefits.

“I can’t believe I live in America,” one woman out of a job said, frustrated that her American dream has gone up in smoke.

 

Photo Credit: wisaflcio (Rally to extend unemployment benefits)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.