On Sunday, 60 Minutes presented a report about how bad the recession is for people who are unemployed. The show went to San Jose, which was the center of the booming Silicon Valley just a decade ago. Now shiny new buildings stand empty, and college-educated people have run out money after losing their jobs in a way they could never have imagined.
Solid middle-class boomers have spent their savings and retirement plans and sometimes sold their houses. They never expected to be jobless for six months, much less two years.
Nearly 20 percent of unemployed in America have college degrees. San Jose has shrunk by 75,000 jobs.
99 Weeks: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out, CBS News, October 25, 2010
Scott Pelley Reports On The Growing Number of Americans Who Are Exhausting Their Benefits
(CBS) The economic jam we’re in has topped even the Great Depression in one respect: never have we had a recession this deep with a recovery this flat. Unemployment has been at nine and a half percent or above for 14 months.
Congress did something that it has never done before – it extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks. That cost more than $100 billion, a huge expense for a government in debt.
But now, for many Americans 99 weeks have passed and there’s still no job in sight. Some have taken to calling themselves the “99ers.”
“60 Minutes” and correspondent Scott Pelley went to several communities in search of the 99ers, but we didn’t expect to find such a crisis in Silicon Valley, the high tech capital that many people hoped would be creating jobs. [. . .]
The people in the group are the faces of unemployment in Silicon Valley, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who thought they had done everything right: earned a degree, stayed with their company, saved for retirement. [. . .]
Jim Wild has been applying for jobs two years. “I’ve gone through the tier one companies. I’ve gone through the tier two companies and now I’m down to Target. I just got a job offer from Target to work a part-time job at 9.50 or 9.25 an hour,” he explained.
The Target job is floor sales; previously, Wild was a fiber optics engineering manager.
He’s taking the job at Target and he’s glad to get it.
In economic downturns a few decades back, middle class people could generally find unskilled jobs that would at least bring in a little money until conditions improved. Now many of those jobs are taken by newly arrived legal immigrants and illegal aliens. And they keep coming, despite what Washington says about the border being secure.
As Roy Beck has been pointing out for some time, the machinery of legal immigration continues along on automatic pilot as if America needed more workers: 1.1 Million New Green Cards Issued in 2009. The same situation continues to this day, despite the suffering of unemployed citizens who don’t need even more competitors for scarce jobs.
Watch the 60 Minutes segment: