Unemployment is a major thing today. The national figure is still sitting at 9.6%. Each month there are statistics that come out saying how many new jobs were created and how many were taken away. The figure has been fairly static most of the year; it’s almost a wash at this point.

The thing is, I say often that the unemployment figures are misleading. I believe there are more people out of work than the national number is considering. I actually “know” that. And it’s because of the 99ers.

What are the 99ers? It’s a term that refers to those people who have totally maxed out of receiving unemployment benefits. Seems that the federal limit for people to receive unemployment, even with extensions, is 99 weeks. True, that’s pretty close to 2 years, but in an economy like ours it seems there are a lot of people who have reached that 2 year limit and still haven’t found new jobs.

The other side of this are those people who are “under” employed. That means they previously had a very nice paying job and suddenly are working jobs that pay little money and often don’t have health insurance. Yet, because they’re working, they’re not counted in the unemployment figures and thus are a nonentity in the government’s eyes.

This isn’t a slam against the present administration, by the way. This has happened throughout history. During Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, this same thing occurred. It obviously happened during President Hoover’s time period as well, only back then there was no such thing as unemployment benefits. The major difference now? Most of the jobs that have been lost are in other countries where people are making way less than Americans were making, and thus those jobs aren’t coming back.

I feel for the 99ers; I really do. I was one of those people who had to partake of extended benefits during Bush I’s last year and President Clinton’s first year. It wasn’t easy, and I got two jobs the week after I got my last unemployment check; whew! They were two low paying jobs, but they allowed me to get my feet back under me and to persevere. But those jobs were there; many overqualified people these days are applying for these same types of jobs, but not getting them. Employers can be choosy, and for the most part they can get who they want.

What’s to do for the 99ers? Hey, I’ve given my ideas in the past; what do you have to offer?

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