99 problems, and a job is one

Updated

I’m not even sure we in the media recognize our privilege when we describe the monthly jobs numbers as “good” or “bad.” In the chatter you hear on at least one Friday each month, it is centered around who and what the jobs numbers are good for: the President and his re-election chances, and the economy.

What about the actual people enduring joblessness – especially the 99ers, who’ve been enduring it past the 99-week limit for federal unemployment benefits? And what effect does this monthly math on jobs numbers have on the problem of poverty? And what of those young people who technically have jobs in an improving market, but with an insufficient living wage, zero upside and pressure not to organize?

This past weekend, Melissa spoke to two women – WorkPlace graduate Melanie Douglas-Seawright and Bonita Cuff of Witnesses to Hunger – who have dealt (and are dealing) with unemployment and poverty in their own lives. “Minimum Rage,” a new GOOD magazine article by one of our former guests, Nona Willis Aronowitz, explores the problem from the perspective of the young and underemployed. A sample:

For kids who grew up middle-class, Emily is the embodiment of a cautionary tale: “You don’t want to end up flipping burgers all your life.” We internalized the message that service jobs aren’t “real” jobs. We wanted to be writers, therapists, lawyers. We wanted to start our own businesses and send our own kids to college. We didn’t want to spend our working lives reciting specials and making drinks. Even when these jobs drag on for years, we tell ourselves this isn’t what we’re really doing. It’s ok for now. It’s only temporary.

Read the whole article here, and watch this weekend’s segments on unemployment and poverty, above and after the jump.

 

99 problems, and a job is one

Updated