All Articles Tagged "unemployment"
“Your BFF’s new husband just got dropped from the 49ers,” my sports fanatic boyfriend matter-of-factly informed me one evening.
He was all too aware of the friend-in-my-head that is Kerry Washington. With me working in media and his undying love for all things sports, athletes and the women who love them, it always seems to be where our worlds collide.
“So like, what does that mean for him? Is his career like, over? You know they supposedly have a baby on the way,” I asked nervously.
“It’s a tough call,” he said before giving me the run-down on Nnamdi Asomugha’s athletic performance history.
“That’s absolutely awful. I really pray they can survive it. I mean, that kind of burden has to weigh
heavily on a relationship. They’re newlyweds. She’s at the top of her game right now and his career might be over.” I said that with enough concern to convince anyone who may have been listening in on our conversation that Kerry and I actually had a friendship somewhere other than in my head. But I meant it. Unemployment is hard on any relationship.
The call grew eerily silent. We had both temporarily escaped into our own thoughts.
“So how long?” he finally asked, breaking the silence.
“How long what?”
“How long can your man be out of work after a layoff before you get fed up?”
That was a great question—one I’d never put much thought into and one I tried to answer with caution. You see, I have an extremely low tolerance for able-bodied men who get knocked on their butts and decide to stay there, leaving their significant other to carry the burden of an entire household alone. In the same breath, I must admit that I realize how sucky the job market is right now and I’m fully aware of our country’s alarming unemployment rate. Securing a new gig can be pretty challenging.
“Six months to a year and a half, depending on the circumstances,” I eventually said, estimating my breaking point. I’d happily hold my family down in the interim, but I think between six months and a year and a half is a reasonable amount of time to secure a new job for someone who is actively and aggressively seeking employment,” I continued.
He, of course, felt that anything past six months was too long for a man to leave his wife carrying such a heavy burden alone.
“Hell, even six months is too long. I may not be able to get the job that I want, but I’d rather hand out flyers and scrub toilets than leave my woman paying all of the bills,” he said.
I let out a sigh of relief. Unemployment in a relationship isn’t always a money thing, but more so, a partnership thing. In my years on this earth, I’ve encountered my share of men who seemed a bit too comfortable with being chronically unemployed—family members, friends and unfortunately, some ex-boyfriends. We then began discussing a mutual friend, who recently revealed that her husband was not only unemployed for more than a year, but despite being home all day while she went to work, was even reluctant about helping out with household chores. This friend, who was never shy about professing her love for her hubby in the past, confessed that his laziness was slowly stirring up a bit of resentment within her that sometimes made it difficult to be around him.
“Kerry and Nnamdi will be fine. They have millions to fall back on,” my boyfriend eventually said.
They probably will be fine. Hopefully our friend will be too, I thought to myself.
All relationships have their challenges and rough patches, but I believe that two people wholeheartedly committed to working through those tough times and focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel are what the best love stories are made of. However, it has to be pretty tough when you’re struggling just to keep Con Edison from shutting that light (and the rest of them) off.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Have black women been forgotten by the political machine even though they vote in high numbers? Yes, say many. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) entitled “The State of African-American Women in the United States,” the crossroads of racial and gender disparities meet at the experience of black women. Yet, in the last presidential election, black women had the highest voter turnout of any comparable group in the country.
Despite experiencing socioeconomic inequity more than anyone else, African American women vote more than all others (and generally in favor of the Democratic candidate). This is important for two reasons notes Theodore R. Johnson in Salon. First, the policy concerns of African American women have gone largely unaddressed. Second, although there is evidence of the black electorate leader, there is not much effort by candidates to work hard for those votes. And the Republican Party assumes it is impossible to grab the black vote. The Democratic Party knows it can depend on overwhelming support from the black community.
In a 2011 poll from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, the issues that black women were most concerned about included employment/personal finances, healthcare, and crime. Even exit polls from last month’s Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections highlight the same concerns.
Stats will tell you these concerns are not being met. The CAP report reveals that 1 in 4 black women are uninsured. In education, African American women are underrepresented in college degrees, have the slowest increase in graduation rates of all women, and are the most severely underrepresented in technical fields, reports Salon. Economically, black women have a higher rate of unemployment than white women. This rate rose in 2013. Also, black women’s income is less than all men and white women, and their poverty rate is the highest in the country.
Even will all these disparities, the Washington-Kaiser poll discovered that nearly 3 in 4 black women felt it was a good time to be a black woman in America, and 85 percent say they are happy with their lives in general.
“Perhaps most interesting, black female entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of the women-owned business market. They are starting up at six times the national average, grew in number by 258 percent over the last 15 years, and generated nearly $45 billion of revenue this year,” reports Salon.
The surprising thing is that even with this political alienation, black women still vote. A Harvard Journal of African American Policy paper titled, “Political Cynicism and the Black Vote,” points to an important difference in black voting behavior. The authors theorize that unlike other races, when black voters have high cynical attitudes – such as the feeling of political alienation – they vote in higher numbers. So this could explain why black women voting rates consistently rise despite their political alienation.
“The political alienation of black women may prove beneficial to the winners who are swept into office from their high turnout, but the failure to adequately address the disparities they experience dooms any attempt at sound social policy,” notes Johnson in Salon.
What do you think?
‘You Collect Your Unemployment And Then You Pray:’ Melissa De Sousa Talks Dry Spells And Being Rejected By Hollywood
Best Man Holiday actress Melissa De Sousa recently sat down with Rolling Out Magazine to discuss her rise to fame and the struggle that it took to get there. She also dishes on being rejected by Hollywood producers for being “too pretty.” Check out her interview highlights below.
On being by Hollywood rejected because of her look:
“Tons of rejection … [so] much I can’t even count. I mean most of the time [I get] more “nos” than “yeses.” I never really had anyone say anything real horrible to me. I had to prove myself. I remember when I auditioned for Hustle & Flow, which is the one [movie] Terrence got his nomination for. You know they thought I was “too pretty” and I wouldn’t be able to play a down-on-her luck stripper. But I begged them to see me. You know I went in and did my thing. I ended up screen-testing. The person who got it was Paula Jai Parker. I think Regina Hall also screen-tested. All of us ultimately screen-tested. You know I had to fight for them to even look at me in that way, because they thought I was too nice and would not be able to get gritty and dirty. You have to prove yourself because people always want to put you in a box. I am just the one not to do that to.”
On her rocky start in acting:
“It’s not always easy to get in the “door.” You know when I first came to Los Angeles, I slept on my girlfriend’s floor for a year. I got my first agent and I sent my pictures out to everybody and since I had no experience and I had nothing on tape or even seen, some of the [agencies] sent my pictures back to me [laughs]. So one agency would see you in person and they want you to come in and audition in their room and once again I had to prove myself in person. You have to have an attitude that nothing’s gonna stop me. I think that’s just my New York kind of attitude — survival of the fittest. That’s why I love that song [Empire State of Mind] so much because that’s how it is when people go off to New York.”
On stints of unemployment:
“Then there were times I didn’t work for maybe two or three years. There was a time I didn’t have an agent for one reason or another. When the agent dropped me I was like ‘OK, maybe I am not in the business anymore.’ God-willing you can collect unemployment from the residuals from other things you have done in the past. You collect your unemployment and then you pray. You still go out and do your hustle. I always would save money because you never know when that dry spell is gonna hit — and it did. Just go and keep auditioning and keep trying and keep believing things will turn around and it always does.”
Jobs numbers for October were released yesterday, with the government reporting an additional 204,000 jobs, showing little change in the number of people out of work (11.3 million) and the unemployment rate (7.3 percent, up from 7.2 percent the previous month). But what was surprising was the lack of great impact from the 16-day government shutdown. In fact, the slight uptick in the unemployment rate could be attributable to the furlough of government workers during the shutdown, according to the AP. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of people who reported being temporarily laid off was 448,000, which included those furloughed employees.
Long-term unemployed numbers (27 weeks or more) remained at 4.1 million. And the unemployment rate for blacks held steady at an unfortunate 13.1 percent.
Job gains were seen across retail (food and beverage and electronics retailers were particular highlights), leisure and hospitality, health care and professional and technical services. Wal-Mart added 55,000 workers this year for the holiday season versus 50,000 last year.
In a plus for the holiday season, the report also shows that small increases in pay and lower gas prices could give shoppers more to shop with in the next couple of months.
Moreover, the AP says a lot of employers hired new staffers irrespective of the shutdown, though those communities nearest DC were the hardest hit, a fact that became an election issue in the recent governor’s race in Virginia.
Despite the relatively good news, the millions of unemployed are still concerned, particularly with the threat of unemployment benefits ending at year’s end. Congress would have to renew the emergency unemployment program that adds 37 weeks to the 26 already granted in most states if they are to continue.
There’s no denying the stress of not having a job. It can make you lose your mind. Still, thousands work to pick up the pieces for a promising future. Unemployment has rocked this nation with many of us filing for jobless claims to make ends meet or even exceeding the number of weeks and struggling to figure things out once the assistance ends.
Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones that can score a job interview in this economy as many times they are few and far between. However do you know what to say should questions regarding your employment gaps arise? We already know how to survive while unemployed. Now it’s time to talk about landing that position. Here are some tips on how to explain unemployment at a job interview along with takeaways to get you through.
While a new survey by CareerBuilder finds that fewer U.S. workers are dependent on their next paycheck to make ends meet, can the same be said for African Americans?
According to the study, 36 percent of workers said they always or usually live paycheck to paycheck, which is an improvement from 40 percent in 2012 and a peak of 46 percent in 2008 at the beginning of the Great Recession when layoffs were rampant.
The data was a mixed bag regarding savings and retirement. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder says, ”The report shows 25 percent of workers do not set any funds aside for savings each month. This is a slight improvement from 27 percent in 2012. In terms of retirement saving, 65 percent of workers participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable plan, down from 67 percent last year,” reports TheGrio.
While, the CareerBuilder survey did not identify respondents by race, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, author of Zero Debt, warns the middle class and low- to moderate-income households have been squeezed. That includes a broad swath of African-Americans.
Khalfani-Cox says she does not get the sense fewer African Americans are living paycheck to paycheck based on questions posted to her website, AskTheMoneyCoach.com.
“I can’t believe for a moment that they don’t feel cash strapped and living paycheck to paycheck,” she says.
According to Khalfani-Cox, we are becoming more of an hourglass economy. The upper middle class and above felt the recovery sooner. The true middle class are seeing rising costs for food and healthcare, wages however have not seen a change. Then you have those that are struggling so that, according to this weekend report from 60 Minutes, disability payments are a major source of income for some.
Also, debt levels continue to increase and student loan burdens are still part of the mix.
Many African Americans view homeownership and a college degree as important parts of the American dream. “The problem is you typically have to finance them,” Khalfani-Cox explains.
“It will take a while for the economic recovery to trickle down to average folks,” she says.
Being young just isn’t fun any more, at least when it comes to job prospects. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, while 54 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 currently have jobs, its the lowest employment rate for this age group since the government began keeping track in 1948. “And it’s a sharp drop from the 62 percent who had jobs in 2007 — suggesting the recession is crippling career prospects for a broad swath of young people who were still in high school or college when the downturn began,” reports The Huffington Post.
And now a new report shows that things are faring even worse for the so-called “Lost Generation.” A report released Monday by the Georgetown University Center on Education, shows that financial independence is now harder for this group to attain, especially for young African Americans. While three groups — young men, high school graduates and African Americans — continue to bear the brunt of The Great Recession’s limiting access to jobs, experts say financial independence is taking longer to attain for young adults across the board reports the HuffPo.
The report, “Failure To Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation,” found that over the past 30 years, the age at which young workers reach financial independence, the median wage, has risen from age 26 to age 30. For young African Americans, the age has increased to 33.
Between 2000 and 2012, the employment rate for young workers dropped from 84 percent to 72 percent, with black Gen-Yers reaching a peak post-recession unemployment rate of 30 percent, twice as high as that of young whites.
But beyond race, the analysis looked at other possible causes for the lack of employment for young job hunters. Researchers also examined whether older workers’ tendency to stay in the workforce longer is what’s keeping the younger generation’s financial freedom at bay. “But despite the fact that sixty-two percent of women 55 and older were employed in 2010, compared to 42 percent in 1987, the report concluded that it isn’t older workers who are crowding younger ones out,” reports the HuffPo. Actually, the data pointed to an “imbalance in resources” between young and old (resources like Social Security and Medicare) as a more likely cause.
America is in a holding pattern when it comes to poverty and median income levels. There was no significant decrease in poverty nor did incomes get a big boost, according to new data.
And as a new U.S. Census Bureau report revealed, while real median household income and the poverty rate were not statistically different from the previous year, there are 46.5 million (or 15 percent) of people living at or below the poverty line. “This marked the second consecutive year that neither the official poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from the previous year’s estimates,” according to a Bureau press release.
The report, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” found that the real median incomes in 2012 for family households ($64,053) and non-family households ($30,880) were not very different from the levels in 2011. And changes in real median household income were not statistically significant for race and Hispanic-origin groups between 2011 and 2012.
If the numbers on poverty and income levels haven’t changed drastically, the changes in the situation for blacks seem strange.
“Black unemployment rose to 13 percent in August from 12.6 percent in July. Unemployment among black teens declined to 38.2 percent, down from 41.6 percent. This was the lowest level since March, however, black teen unemployment remains the highest of any group,” reports TheGrio.
“We’ve lost 700,000 public sector jobs since [President] Obama took office. This is a completely preventable and reversible catastrophe,” Heather McGhee, vice president for policy and outreach at Demos told TheGrio. This is due, she said, to the steep cuts and the gridlock in Washington. And she says she does not expect more encouraging jobs data until there is a commitment to create more public sector jobs, where blacks and Latinos are over-represented.
Of the 169,000 jobs that were created, the retail, health care and leisure and hospitality sectors saw the biggest increases. Many retail jobs, however, are low wage.
Mobility can play an important role in employment as well. African Americans tend to reside in more segregated communities that are located further away from the areas experiencing the highest jobs growth. Therefore, improving transportation and access to transportation is important, explained Margaret Simms, institute fellow and director of the Low Income Working Families Project at the Urban Institute. She said manufacturing jobs were a good source of high-wage jobs for workers without more than a high school education. But, these jobs are not growing in many parts of the country.
(Actually, there’s an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal this morning about the opportunities available in toilet manufacturing. The strength and skill needed for the job makes it a manufacturing area that the US can excel in.)
Education is also key. “We must ensure the next generation has the educational foundation to acquire job related skills, whether it is post-secondary or vocational training,” said Simms. In some not-so-good news, a report from the College Board shows that the SAT scores for the Class of 2013 indicates the next group of high school graduates aren’t prepared for college. The benchmark score is 1550 (out of 2400) and the average score this year was 1498, the same as last year. That benchmark indicates a 65 percent chance that students will achieve a B- grade point average their first year.
Trying to find a job can be a daunting task. The search process can be just as time-consuming as actually working a full-time gig. The recent reduction in the unemployment rate to 7.3 percent, which is a low since 2008, proves how discouraging the job-seeking process is. Many speculate that the unemployment rate has not dropped because more jobs have been created or positions have been filled, but because many of the unemployed have gotten frustrated and stopped searching.
The competition for available jobs is steep due to the increased number of applicants and with more supply for their demand; employers are getting pickier about the candidates they hire. According to The New York Times, the interview process has doubled over the last three years causing some candidates to go through a third, fourth, or even fifth and sixth interview.
While unemployed, making good use of your new-found free time will help you stay competitive. Spending time each day scouring the web, applying for jobs and setting up interviews is a must, but if you are unemployed for an extended period of time, potential employers will wonder what you have been doing to stay sharp.
Here’s what you should be doing to keep your resume on top of the stack.
Donating your time working in your field of interest may not be lucrative, but will keep your skills up to par and prepare you for your next roll. Although initially free labor may not be putting any coin in your pocket, volunteering can certainly pay off in the long run. The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that tracks volunteerism, recently found that those who volunteer during unemployment are 27 percent more likely to find a job compared to those that don’t.
If you are a specialist in a specific profession, you don’t need to wait until you’ve been hired in that capacity to show that you’re a professional. For example, if you are a web designer or accountant, your skills and value are autonomous from your status as someone’s employee. If you don’t define yourself by the role you possess within a company you can open your mind to find ways to make your skills work for you through contracting, freelancing, and entrepreneurship.
Going Back to School
If you would like to throw in the towel on the job search all together, or take one for the team and help our unemployment rate go down even further, enrolling in a college or university can help bolster your skill set and network. The only caveat is if you are not attending school because you are genuinely interested and passionate about furthering your education and not just because of your unemployment status, you may not perform well or even finish, which could put you in a worse predicament than before you started.
Certifications and Licenses
Certification and licensing programs are a great way to build your resume without the hefty time and financial commitments of attending school at a college or university. Many certifications and licensing can build your field knowledge and expand your qualifications for a broader scope of job opportunities.
Landing a job is no cake walk. As a result of the financial crisis, companies are continuously restructuring and are becoming exceedingly cautious about hiring new talent. This new slow and steady process of hiring may be our new normal, so having a plan to maximize your downtime might be just what you need to help you rebound from unemployment.
From Black Enterprise
Gawker recently published a rejection letter from a tech startup founder who included tips for job seekers who didn’t make the cut. In the letter, Shea Gunther notified more than 900 applicants, who had little to no chance of landing a gig at his new company, on how to improve their job-seeking tactics—in 42 points to be exact.
According to the rejected candidate who forwarded the email, Gunther’s correspondence was harsh and insensitive.
“I don’t find it helpful,” the rejected applicant wrote. “I just find it arrogant.”
I’d beg to differ. I think it’s to be commended that Gunther took the time to reply to rejected applicants to detail better ways of marketing themselves. His letter holds a few hard-to-swallow truths that many job seekers can benefit from. Several are common pet peeves of HR professionals, managers and entrepreneurs who review thousands of applicants per week.
Here are a few I found myself saying ‘Amen’ to:
Do read the ad and do exactly what it asks.
Don’t ask me questions answered in the ad.
Don’t waste my time by telling me you’re not going to waste my time.
Don’t put your cover letter/introduction text into an attachment.
Do keep it short and sweet.
Don’t describe yourself as zany, crazy, or wild
Don’t ask me questions.
I’ve seen quite a few of the above while vetting freelancers and interns, and I’ve been told I’m a straight-shooter—almost to a fault—when it comes to advice and critique on practically anything.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com