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Jobless Recovery

OPB | Sept. 21, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9 p.m.

Good news about the economy may actually be bad news for people currently looking for a job. New statistics indicate that fewer people are signing up for unemployment benefits in Oregon each week. Economists say this is a sign that the recession is coming to an end — and that a jobless recovery is what’s on the way. That means the economy may improve, but the number of employment opportunities may not.

Since the beginning of this recession a year ago, about 100,000 people have lost their jobs. Many of them rely on unemployment benefits to get them through the difficult days, to help them pay their mortgage, purchase groceries or fill their cars with gas. But unemployment benefits only last so long (anywhere from 26 to to 79 weeks, depending on the extensions received).

For 3,000 people their benefits ran out on September 5th. That’s expected to increase by about 500 people each week for the next month. Obviously this is bad news for anyone relying on that cash. The good news, however, is that beginning October 4th, the Oregon Emergency Benefits Program kicks in with an additional 13 weeks of checks. But how do people cope during that intermediate time, when some benefits have stopped and others have yet to kick in? How do people cope when all their benefits max out?

What about those people for whom unemployment ran out long ago — the long-time unemployed who can’t get a job but don’t have unemployment?

And what about the folks who are routinely under-employed? They might have a PhD, but the only job available to them is waitressing. How do they get by?

Do you fall into any of these categories? What is your experience?


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