Home Back Issues April 2009 The numbers game

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

What I'm Reading

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nick Herinckx, CEO of Obility, and Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID, share what they've been reading.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


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