Friday, September 02, 2011

Bringing The Pain, Part 5

(Part 1 including the setup is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, and Part 4 is here.)

Missouri

For anyone out there who thinks our glorious system of private insurance and our “ownership society” overall is so great, I would ask that you read the story of this lady who lost her job and had been unemployed for over three years, fighting like hell to obtain extensions of her unemployment (she was originally told that she only qualified for 26 weeks) and coverage for her health care costs. I wish her all the best, and I only wish I could do more (and here is another unemployment story).

In response, Repug State Senator Jim Lembke said that 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is “too much” and “enough is enough” here (like to see him have to file a claim for himself one day). Subsequent to this, the state unemployment rate hit 9.9 percent in April (here). Based on this, though, it looks like Dem Senator Claire McCaskill and Repug Senator Roy Blunt (shocking in the latter case) are at least trying to find out what's going on with customs enforcement, which, due to its apparent laxity, is costing jobs.

Montana

Conversely, this tells us that the “treasure state” is one of the ten best places to receive unemployment. This also tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in July (not great, but not bad either).

As far as industries doing well in the state, this tells us that biotech appears to be growing, but even though Dem Governor Brian Schweitzer said last year that “Montana is energy country,” the billion-dollar initiative noted here is expected to yield only 59 jobs.

On the federal government side, Dem Senator Jon Tester introduced the Hiring Heroes Act to fight veterans’ unemployment here. His same-party counterpart Max Baucus introduced a year-long unemployment benefits extension here last November (and as noted here, Baucus also had a chuckle over “Diaper Dave” Vitter crying poor mouth on that same subject).

Nebraska

This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate in July was 4.1 percent (not sure if that was the lowest rate in the country or not, but it’s pretty close). When it comes to jobs, this tells us that the state’s two senators, Repug Mike Johanns and “Democrat” Ben Nelson, expressed concern about the Keystone XL pipeline running through their state en route to Texas, but this tells us that the state’s governor, Dave Heineman, didn’t offer an alternative to rerouting the pipeline or call in the state legislature on the matter either.

And speaking of Nelson, he’s running for re-election next year against a Repug named John Bruning, who compared welfare recipients to raccoons here (yes, I know that doesn’t relate directly to jobs…not much else to report on other than the fact that work appears to be plentiful, which is great, but outside of Omaha, I don’t have a lot of information on what to do in the state after they “roll up the sidewalks” at night, if you know what I mean).

Update 9/7/11: More on the proposed pipeline here...

Nevada

(I know we don’t have losing Repug U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle to kick round any more, but when it comes to employment, I still thought it was worth it to revisit this “golden oldie,” saying the unemployed were “spoiled”…ha ha, wingnut.)

This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate in June was 12.4 percent (ouch…amazing that Harry Reid was returned to the Senate last year with a number like that, but again, thanks to Angle and those zany teabaggers). Oh, and Dean Heller, the Repug appointed to fill out the Senate term of John Ensign, once said here that unemployment benefits were creating “hobos” (of course, he’s probably getting his talking points on this from the leader of his party, as noted here).

In addition, this tells us that “skilled” jobs frequently go unfilled in the state (guess it’s too “socialist” of a thought to invest in job training), and this tells us that teen unemployment in the state is 34.2 percent (wow – another HUGE story going thoroughly unreported is how much this wretched recession is creating what will probably be a permanent underclass of workers stuck in low-paying jobs…and the people responsible for turning our economy into a casino and thus causing this still can come and go as they please without wearing orange jump suits).

New Hampshire

As noted here, the state’s rate in July was 5.2 percent, below the national average of course. Also, this tells us how Dem U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen stood up for extending unemployment benefits, and this tells us how Shaheen and Repug Senator Kelly Ayotte are trying to get funding to staff a prison in the North Country (kind of sad when that’s actually a growth industry).

Also, based on this performance, it looks like Repug U.S. House Rep Charlie Bass knows his talking points on creating jobs, particularly green ones, but he doesn’t know much of anything else, making Annie Kuster a more viable alternative for residents of NH-2 come election time next year. And when it comes to Repug stupidity on jobs and the unemployed, I give you this from state representative Carol McGuire, who said that the state’s workers are “not worth the minimum wage” here (like to see her try to live on it, in a world where I was in charge and every day would be the first day of spring, as the song goes).

New Jersey

Based on this, it looks like Governor Bully is “staking his reputation on job creation.” Really? So, how it going?

Well…
How's this job creation faring so far? Poorly. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor statistics, seasonally adjusted NJ unemployment is now at 9.5%, unchanged from that of 12 months ago. The NJ Department of Labor reports in the last 12 months total NJ non-farming employment decreased by 16,300 jobs with a large decrease of 36,200 jobs in government employment. The largest asset of many New Jerseyans and one vulnerable to unemployment is housing. According to RealtyTrak, there are currently 60,430 New Jersey foreclosure properties. During the current year there have been 12,072 new foreclosure filings, but only 4,327 foreclosure sales. Without data specifically for NJ, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show that nationally home prices are back to their summer 2003 levels. Not a pretty picture.
And to portray the human cost of job loss, this tells us of a Rutgers study telling us that “unemployment is killing people” (sounds like required reading for the geniuses from both sides of the aisle, but especially the Repugs, in Washington). In addition, this tells us that the state is not projected to reach pre-recession employment levels until 2016.

On the positive side, this tells us that the state banned job ads that discriminate against the unemployed (shouldn’t be necessary, but it is, sadly). Also, Dem U.S. House Reps Frank Pallone and the great Rush Holt worked with U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez to secure about $3 million in funding to keep the New Jersey Technical Center at Fort Monmouth open here.

So what has the “loyal opposition” done in response? This tells us that every U.S. House rep on the other side voted to privatize Medicare, with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka telling us here that privatization is a bad idea for a few reasons, one of which being that it will do nothing to create jobs.

Update 9/28/11: I realize Governor Bully isn't so much at fault here as are the heartless zombies who cheered people losing their jobs (even though it's part of the lore of The Sainted Ronnie R), but I still thought I should note it anyway.

New Mexico

Like the state of Maine, it looks like this one is also dealing with the consequences of electing a teabagger as governor.

As noted here, Susana Martinez overstepped her authority when she fired two members and the executive director of Public Employee Labor Relations Board, as ruled by the state supreme court. She also vetoed a business tax increase that the state’s businesses actually lobbied for to shore up the state’s unemployment compensation fund here.

This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in July. And as noted here, Dem U.S. Senator Tom Udall is scheduled to begin a “jobs tour” soon of the southern part of the state.

Also, as noted here, Udall said the following with two fellow Senators, Dem Jeff Merkley and Repug Rand Paul (file this under “blind squirrel finding the nut” in the latter case)…
We have urgent needs at home: high unemployment and a flood of foreclosures, a record deficit and a debt that is over $14 trillion and growing. We are spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. We need to change course.
Let’s not forget the fact that precious resources that can be used to rebuild this country are being diverted for fool’s errands in the name of oil (still, after all this time!).

And from here (in May, closer to home)…
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico has new data that shows the state's unemployment rate may not return to pre-recession numbers for another six years.

"We are 49th among the states in terms of job growth. We've been at the bottom of the pack," explained Lee Reynis with UNM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. It's taking longer for New Mexico to pull out of the recession, compared to other states. "We are lagging. We are lagging seriously," Reynis added.

There are many reasons to blame, but two big ones stand out. First, government hiring is slow because of funding crunches. Second, construction took a major hit as well. So men are expected to feel the impact more than women.

"The construction industry, we simply do not think will come back. They lost over 15,000 jobs," explained Reynis.

Lawrence Garland is a perfect example. He's been looking for a construction job for a year.

"My problem is that I'm pretty specialized and so it's even more difficult," said job seeker Lawrence Garland.

But it's not all bad news. Retail, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality industries are growing. We learned customer care provider “Sitel” is now hiring 120 positions to support its satellite TV and hotel chain clients. We spread the word and hopefully the hope.

"I think I may have a chance at getting a job. I hope," (job seeker Ronald) Desvigne said.
I hope so too – so much for the “land of enchantment.”

I’ll plan to continue this next week.

Update 9/10/11: And speaking of Martinez...

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