The numbers game

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The magazine staff each month waits for the state to release its latest unemployment figures, whistling past the graveyard a bit by guessing what the new percentage will be. But in mid-March, when the rate for February was released, even this grizzled group that’s been saturated in the bad news of the economy for more than a year was startled. The 10.8% rate was beyond any of our guesses.

The depth of job loss in this state and across the country shouldn’t have surprised me. In my own family, I have several 20-something nephews and nieces in Orlando who cannot find even a part-time job. One nephew, axed from his construction job, is painting houses for cash, a part of the underground economy that we explore in our cover story.

I have a sister in Ohio who has given up on her commercial real estate business and is trying to find any job. She’s been overqualified for sales clerk and secretary jobs but has not been able to land even those. In St. Louis, my brother-in-law’s franchise tool business is hurting pretty badly, and my sister’s environmental engineering company in Fort Lauderdale has been shedding dozens of people for the past year. They’re still hanging in there, but they don’t know for how long.

Then there are the friends here with the same stories: unemployed spouses; college grads grateful for a part-time job at Baskin-Robbins, if they can get that. My husband and I have been lucky so far, but it’s hard to feel any joy when so many around us are trying to figure out how to keep their home, keep their kid in college or just keep it together.

i_Robin This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter.com/robindoussard

My old friends from the newspaper industry are in really deep Bandini. The newsroom I left in southern California five years ago is about half the size it used to be, much like newspaper staffs around the country. Some of those folks have ended up re-employed, but many have not and are still looking for jobs after a year, despite their years of experience, college degrees and awards. The local publishing scene, including us, has had its share of layoffs and budget cuts. Our terrific interns — all college grads — here at the magazine are finding their journalism prospects grim. One was so discouraged he applied to the Peace Corps.


Waiting for the ax to fall has become part of daily life, whether you’re head of a company or working the night shift. Maybe that’s why so many people still start their own business despite the crummy economy (see page 32 for our story). At least they don’t have to worry about getting that awful tap on the shoulder.

The unemployment figure was never just a number to me, but I think I’ve lost my appetite for the monthly guessing game on how high it will go. It’s one bet I don’t want to win.

 

More Articles

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS