Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Above Average Unemployment

National unemployment is now over 6% .....but I don't think the whole story is being told. In my family alone, there has been considerable unemployment and underemployment in the last year an a half. This undermines the stability of young families and makes it difficult for them to save money.

Of my step-brothers & sisters, my brother, and my husbands brothers & sister (numbers include most spouses)....

4 were laid off within the last year and a half, but have found work. One was laid off and is still looking for work, and 9 are still employed. Another ships off to Iraq in a month, he couldn't find work so he rejoined the military. The one in jail doesn't count since he's not looking for work.

Of my extended family here in Sacramento, my aunt is still out of work, but Mr. BT's cousin found a new job that is better than his last one. My uncle, is being asked to take days without pay since they don't have much work (I consider this underemployment).

Have other families been impacted this much in recent years?


Buying Time said...

I might just have to start a new blog called BT's unemployment report.

A good friend & neighbor, whom I see at least once a week was laid off today....sigh.

Megan said...


What industries do your family and friends who got laid off work in?

Our family and friends are doing great. I honestly do not know of a single friend or family member who has been laid off in the last several years. But then again, none of them work in industries related to housing.

HousingRealist said...

What is the educational level of your relatives? Did they take the opportunity to improve their competitiveness in the work place?

Cmyst said...

I feel your pain, BT.
A son-in-law that used to work overtime to make around 40K a year (arboreal work)has had his hours cut to part-time, so a young family that was barely making it is now stressed beyond belief. They were told they don't qualify for food stamps ($500 over the yearly income limit), so my daughter has been scrounging cans from all their friends for recycling money, and is hoping to get a job for $8/hr. from 10pm to 3am loading trucks -- it will at least give her full medical insurance benefits.
Youngest son has re-enlisted in the Air Force, largely due to needing lower cost health coverage for his family of five. (plumber, worked for my ex at a family business that has not been able to offer insurance for the last 3 or 4 years, and work has slowed way down.)
Oldest son has been underemployed since completing his apprenticeship program in plumbing, since the apprentices get dibs on job assignments. (Bay Area, not working for family.)
Grandkid who lives with me was laid off. I've told her just to concentrate on completing her college coursework; it's been a struggle for her to work and to attend college. (Food service at upscale, but still fast food, joint.)
I had to change the W2 deductions. It's foolish, but I would rather overpay taxes than owe money in April, so I overpay all year then get a pretty big refund check. I decided I'd collect that refund over the next four months instead; hopefully, some of it will find it's way into my savings account, but I suspect a lot of it will go towards keeping food on the table of my family.

Buying Time said...

Ironically not a single family member referenced is in a housing related field.

I don't think any of the local family has a college degree. But At least two of the layoffs are college educated (sales). The good friend, and also family member currently laid off are both lawyers (different fields).

It a broad mix of skills, professions and backgrounds. That is the really scary part.

watchingthebubble said...


I have a nephew who has been unemployed or underemployed for the last seven years. When he finally decided to seriously go after a job with the state, the hiring freeze hit. Now he's hit-or-miss with Campbell Soup, usually more miss than hit. I keep telling him and his girlfriend that they need to complete college while they and their kids are still young -- kids only become more expensive over time. The CA Community College system has grants available for low-income students; some campuses have child care. Plus, you can get into certificate programs as well as get an AA or AS degree to transfer to a four-year college. But hey, I haven't been successful trying to get my own nephew to go, and I used to work for the community college system!

BT, I feel for you and your family. Times are hard, and families are going to have to hunker down and band together. But now is the time for anyone who is underemployed or unemployed to step back and get more skills and education to become more competitive in the workplace. If you have any luck convincing your family of this, let me know, 'cause I sure haven't had any success.