Tag Archives | Unemployment

Prisoners Help Build Patriot Missiles

Patriot MissileFile this in the “in case you missed it” news cycle. Why should the government not hire unemployed Americans to do this …? Noah Shachtman reported back in March on the excellent WIRED’s Danger Room:

This [past] spring, the United Arab Emirates is expected to close a deal for $7 billion dollars’ worth of American arms. Nearly half of the cash will be spent on Patriot missiles, which cost as much as $5.9 million apiece.

But what makes those eye-popping sums even more shocking is that some of the workers manufacturing parts for those Patriot missiles are prisoners, earning as little as 23 cents an hour.

The work is done by Unicor,  previously known as Federal Prison Industries. It’s a government-owned corporation, established during the Depression, that employs about 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons to make everything from clothing to office furniture to solar panels to military electronics.

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Unemployed Man Will Let Someone Hunt Him For $10,000

Mork-EncinoAh, the most dangerous game. Unfortunately, one can only command such a high price for hunting if you have a smooth pelt and thick hide. Via the The Inquisitr:

Mork Encino, 28, was sick of being unemployed so he decided to start his own business, allowing people with $10,000 to hunt him like a wild animal for sport.

On his website, huntme4sport.com, he is offering “hearty gentlemen who fancy themselves sportsmen” the chance to hunt him down and even kill him should they so choose.

Mork says of his abilities: “I am a new breed of prey with thick pelt and smooth hide,” while adding, “I’m faster than a wild turkey, smart as any GODDAMN wild boar, and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the monetary health of my family.”

The prey (that would be Encino) says he has received various offers but “none of which I’ve been comfortable accepting.” While he says the hunting challenge isn’t a joke, he hopes a real job offer will arrive first so he doesn’t get “shot in the face.”

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Bank of America Hands Out 30,000 Pink Slips To Boost Profits

American Union BankAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Bank of America announced it would send 30,000 more people to the unemployment line in a massive layoff in the hopes of cutting costs. The majority of people cut would be those working in data centers and deposit systems, according to reports from Bloomberg.

The layoffs are part of a plan by CEO Brian T. Moynihan, who wishes to cut $5 billion in annual costs in order to bolster the bank’s profits and stock:

“Profit is under pressure mainly because of losses, legal costs and writedowns tied to the 2008 takeover of subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. At the same time, revenue is shrinking as the U.S. economy slows. Moynihan has said that because the bank is one of the biggest consumer lenders, its fortunes are closely tied to home prices and the jobless rate.”

According to some admittedly unscientific data, the average salary for a Bank of America job is probably right around the $50,000 per year mark.… Read the rest

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African American Unemployment At 27 Year High

chart-black-unemploymentAnnalyn Censky reports on this depressing statistic for CNN Money:

The August jobs report was dismal for plenty of reasons, but perhaps most striking was the picture it painted of racial inequality in the job market.

Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%, the Labor Department reported.

“This month’s numbers continue to bear out that longstanding pattern that minorities have a much more challenging time getting jobs,” said Bill Rodgers, chief economist with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972.

Economists blame a variety of factors. The black workforce is younger than the white workforce, lower numbers of blacks get a college degree and many live in areas of the country that were harder hit by the recession — all things that could lead to a higher unemployment rate.

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Chris Hedges’s Endgame Strategy: Why The Revolution Must Start In America

Synopsis via The Raw Story:

Pulitzer-winning author and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has a revolutionary worldview. In the video below, his recent “Endgame Strategy” piece for AdBusters is read aloud by George Atherton. His conclusions are chilling, but not entirely hopeless. “We will have to take care of ourselves,” he wrote. “We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.

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Sign of the Times: McDonald’s Received Over 1 Million Applications During Recent Hiring Event

McDonald's logoTo put this in prospective, according to Tampa Bay Online, 1 in every 188 Floridians applied. Leslie Patton writes for Bloomberg:

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s biggest restaurant chain, said it hired 24 percent more people than planned during an employment event this month.

McDonald’s and its franchisees hired 62,000 people in the U.S. after receiving more than one million applications, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Previously, it said it planned to hire 50,000.

The April 19 national hiring day was the company’s first, said Danya Proud, a McDonald’s spokeswoman. She declined to disclose how many of the jobs were full- versus part-time. McDonald’s employed 400,000 workers worldwide at company-owned stores at the end of 2010, according to a company filing.

The number of applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. rose last week, a sign that progress in the labor market may be fading.

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Can Manhood Survive The Lost Decade?

Unemployed Man - Exhibitor at APExpo 2010 012Via Newsweek:

If this isn’t the Great Depression, it is the Great Humbling. Can manhood survive the lost decade?

Brian Goodell, of Mission Viejo, Calif., won two gold medals in the 1976 Olympics. An all-American, God-fearing golden boy, he segued into a comfortable career in commercial real estate. Until 2008, when he was laid off. As a 17-year-old swimmer, he set two world records. As a 52-year-old job hunter, he’s drowning.

Brock Johnson, of Philadelphia, was groomed at Harvard Business School and McKinsey & Co., and was so sure of his marketability that he resigned in 2009 as CEO of a Fortune 500 company without a new job in hand. Johnson, who asked that his real name not be used, was certain his BlackBerry would be buzzing off its holster with better offers. At 48, he’s still unemployed.

Two coasts. Two men who can’t find jobs. And one defining moment for the men in the gray flannel suits who used to run this country.

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By The Top One Percent, For The Top One Percent

top-one-percentIn a fantastic piece for Vanity Fair, acclaimed economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses what America’s vast income inequality means for our future — in short, how it will corrode and distort every aspect of society:

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy.

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Mass Privatization Can Kill

Source: BBC/The Lancet

Source: BBC/The Lancet

The BBC reported in January of 2009:

The rapid mass privatisation which followed the break up of the Soviet Union fuelled an increase in death rates among men, research suggests.

The UK study blames rapidly rising unemployment resulting from the break-neck speed of reform.

The researchers said their findings should act as a warning to other nations that are beginning to embrace widespread market reform.

The study features online in The Lancet medical journal.

The researchers examined death rates among men of working age in the post-communist countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union between 1989 and 2002.

They conclude that as many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies.

Following the break up of the old Soviet regime in the early 1990s at least a quarter of large state-owned enterprises were transferred to the private sector in just two years.

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Is The New ‘Normal’ Unemployment Rate Above 5%?

Unemployed Man - Exhibitor at APExpo 2010 012The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in its Economic Letter entitled “What Is the New Normal Unemployment Rate?” states:

“Recent labor markets developments, including mismatches in the skills of workers and jobs, extended unemployment benefits, and very high rates of long-term joblessness, may be impeding the return to “normal” unemployment rates of around 5%. An examination of alternative measures of labor market conditions suggests that the “normal” unemployment rate may have risen as much as 1.7 percentage points to about 6.7%, although much of this increase is likely to prove temporary. Even with such an increase, sizable labor market slack is expected to persist for years.”

Their conclusion? “As the recovery proceeds, we should develop a clearer picture of the new normal rate of unemployment.”

The question becomes, what happens to that ‘extra’ 1.7% of US population? Are they unjustifiably unemployed, if we assume that 5% is truly normal for a super-rich society like our own?… Read the rest

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