published Saturday, June 18th, 2011

The pain of joblessness

We are fortunate if we have a job that earns us the money we need to maintain a reasonable standard of living personally, and for our families. But most of us may not appreciate the “luxury” of a job until we lack one.

So it is painful to acknowledge that job opportunities are scarce for some people in our area, as well as across much of the nation.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent last month, and Georgia had a jobless rate of 9.8 percent. The national unemployment rate in May was 9.1 percent.

Unemployment in even good economic times may be around 5 percent, because of factors such as normal, voluntary job changes that technically leave some people “unemployed” for a brief period. But unemployment levels exceeding 9 percent are clearly not just a matter of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs. We are in a period of serious economic difficulty, when many who want work cannot find it.

There are unemployment benefits available to help tide over many of the jobless. But those benefits are not extended to all — and they don’t last forever.

So we who have regular jobs should appreciate them — and we should do our best to be productive in the workplace.

Meanwhile, we hope for the creation of more job opportunities, to provide full employment for everyone who wants a job, needs a job and has the ability to work productively.

We in the Chattanooga area are blessed to have the prospect of many new jobs from various large and small economic investments. But we sympathize with those who are unemployed — and particularly with those who have been unemployed long term.

Robust charitable efforts ought to be undertaken to assist them while our state and nation wait for the economic growth that can help put them back to work.

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nucanuck said...

The real truth about unemployment is that the world has a chronic over-supply of workers. Globalization has simply made that fact painfully clear. High unemployment is now the global norm and not likely to change.

Birth rates have begun to fall, but human longevity is still rising. Population should top out at something near 9 billion on a planet that can't sustain that many without environmental repercussions and humanitarian misery.

Getting back in balance is the challenge of our lives, so to speak.

June 18, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
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