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

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 26, 2014
0926 iphone6-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


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...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


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