Just the Facts

The unemployment rate in the United States was calculated at 9.1% as of May 2011. Unemployment is currently under-reported; even government officials admit their "adjustments" to unemployment figures are inaccurate during recessions. Economist John Williams puts the unemployment rate at 22.3%.

The average unemployed person has been looking for work for 39.7 weeks (9.5 months).  To add insult to injury, many of the unemployed who went back to school to be retrained for a new career have racked up student loan debt and are still unable to find a job.

Middle-aged workers (between the ages of 45-54) are the hardest hit.  While they should be in their prime earning years and at peak levels of expertise, they are the last to benefit from job recovery; losing out to cheaper employees who are either younger or older.

Most job openings in a company are filled without ever being posted.  Of the jobs that are posted, most will be filled internally and the resulting vacancies will be covered by distributing the workoad among current employees.  According to Forbes, as many as 90% of  jobs are obtained through casual connections; not via advertisement.  It is possible to apply for thousands of positions online and never receive a single response.

4.2 million mortgage borrowers are either seriously delinquent or have had their cases referred to lawyers to pursue foreclosure auctions, according to LPS Applied Analytics.  Of those, 2/3 have made no payments at all for at least a year, and 1/3 have gone more than two years.  Nationwide, it takes an average of 565 days to foreclose on borrowers in default from their first missed payment to the final auction.

Okay, admittedly these facts are depressing, yet I was so glad to find them!  They legitimize my experience - it isn't ME.  I realize that's of small comfort, but it's oddly comforting nonetheless.  (Misery loves company.)

Dad always said not to worry, things were bound to get better, just hang in there, everything's going to be alright.  I think he really believed it.  Hell, even I believed it!  He was so seldom wrong.  I wonder what he would say if he were here now. Probably the same thing - and I would want so desperately to believe him that I actually might.

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