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November 12th, 2009

Jobs: “One of the Great Challenges That Remains”

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President Obama announced today that a jobs summit will be held at the White House next month in order to recast legislative attention to a sector of the economy that has worsened:

“This is one of the great challenges that remains in our economy, a challenge that my administration is absolutely determined to meet,” [said the president].

The jobs forum in December will include business leaders, small business owners, labor union leaders and others.

Some have questioned the Administration’s dedication to addressing unemployment as other issues — such as health care, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial reform — have occupied lawmakers to a great degree (but with good reason).

The White House has already extended and expanded unemployment benefits, especially to the states hardest-hit by the recession. Under certain budgetary constraints, is there much more the administration can do?

[The president] said he did not want to act rashly, particularly given the soaring budget deficit but would be open to “any demonstrably good idea.”

In what the LA Times called “a high-level forum,” the meeting of minds will brainstorm ideas for new ways to stem job loss.

Our guess is that October’s unemployment report, which showed that the nation’s unemployment rate soared pasted 10% far sooner than many economists had predicted, lit a spark under the administration to develop new ways to help the unemployed beyond increasing benefits.

According to the Labor Department’s report today, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000, and continue the yearly trend downward.

What do you hope this job summit can accomplish? Does anyone have any ideas for the president?

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4 Responses to “Jobs: “One of the Great Challenges That Remains””

  1. Cindy Mason Says: November 13th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I feel like I am in such a difficult place – and I’m sure I am not the only person who feels this. I was laid off February 18, 2009, after working at a church for 29 years (this month, November, would have been the celebration of my thirtieth year).

    I have applied for hundreds of jobs, have done temp work, have done home-based jobs – anything to try to keep my house, pay my bills, and eat. I never lived “large” working for a church, but now I’m living sparsely. I have been pulling money out of my retirement fund to live on, which is not good.

    My health insurance right now is with COBRA and thank heavens for the stimulus effort to reduce the payment;however, that ends the end of January at which time I will have to pay the full amount. I have no idea how I’m going to do that. I may have to put my house on the market since paying a house payment and paying $600 to $700 in health insurance seems like an impossible amount to pay each month in addition to my other bills. Plus, it will take a huge bite out of my retirement money. I don’t want to use all that money – that would leave me with another problem when I do hit retirement age.

    I have always paid my way, been a good employee, been a good citizen, and now I don’t know what I’m going to do. I want to pay my own way, but I have two strikes against me – no one seems to think that people who work at a church really work, and I’m no longer in my 20s or early 30s. I can work circles around that age group of workers, but it’s difficult to convince prospective employers that that is true.

    This is a tough time for many, many people. I know it has to be equally tough for you to try to figure out solutions to this mounting problem. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf.

  2. Tim Manni Says: November 13th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Cindy,

    First off, I’m sorry to hear about your recent struggles — you’re certainly not alone. There are countless middle-age (or close to middle age) Americans who are facing this uncertain and daunting task of not only finding a job, but the sheer competition created by younger workers in an already-limited environment. Don’t get down on yourself that you haven’t been hired b/c of your past experience in a church, millions of Americans with all different types experience and backgrounds can’t find work either. Keep searching.

    The temporary COBRA relief has been exceptional, but the resets back to the full amount will have to be one of the issues addressed at the jobs summit for it to be worth people’s time (in our humble opinion).

    We commend the fact that you want to “pay [your] own way.” However, we can understand your underlying feelings that you need help from the government — you feel that you have few options left. I’m really hoping something comes from this job summit, if not for your sake, then for the million like you out there.

    Best of luck, keep us posted, and thanks for sharing your story,
    Tim

  3. Janet Ellis Says: November 22nd, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    With unemployment rising and foreclosures growing why not help both situation by fixing up the homes that are damaged. The leftover stimulus money can go into the community banks and lend out to repair these homes and the families who are homeless can live there until the home can be put up for sale. The local schools are the best location for the community to help families with child care and senior care for those who have to care for both. The people who work there can be those who are studying to be teachers and health care providers or unemployed people and can be paid for by reducing their student loans. The families that benefiting from the home repair program can help in these centers, and the local stores can donate to this with foods that are still good but not saleable in the store. Give them the full write off and the school can prepare healthy foods for all. Those who volunteer can perhaps get a tax credit, and students who work there can get extra credits at school. Perhaps it will not be a permanent solution but in these hard times all the help we provide for the average citizen as a community will help everyone.

  4. Tim Manni Says: November 23rd, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Janet,

    I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into this. I like where your head’s at — we need to implement the stimulus into a more circular plan like you’ve suggested. We need one aspect to impact the lives of some which in turn will improve the lives of others. I think we both agree that the stimulus needs to do more for more people.

    Please visit us again soon Janet, thanks for commenting,
    Tim

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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