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"CEO to Food Stamps" is happening now in America
AXcess News (Chicago) - Most professionals, and almost all executives, have learned to man or woman up in hard times. They wear a mask that displays confidence and projects success to the world, because they know there’s no whining in business.The Great Recession has made executives a little more willing to be honest, but only if they are projecting a positive and confident “turn-around” future outlook no matter how dire the future may be in reality. Failure is not an option. Failure is seen as personal and still remains shameful even if out of one’s control.
It takes guts for a professional to take the mask off. It takes strength for anyone to be vulnerable by opening themselves up publicly for judgment by the world.
Former construction company CEO Mollee Harper is courageous. She has character. Mollee is willing to be painfully raw and powerfully real for what she sees as a larger good. She is speaking out.
The Great Recession has turned her life upside down and inside out with no mercy. She went from being a custom construction company CEO to being on food stamps. She still exudes personal confidence, but she is taking the mask off when she reveals she is uncertain what her life will look like in a year. She wants it to include a job she can be an asset in again. She wants to get her life back on track.
Why should you care? This is just another failing economy hard luck story, right? We can’t fix what we don’t acknowledge is broken. When America has a growing class of highly qualified, well educated, and starving for work former professionals who have now been unemployed 12-24 months, there is a major problem.
The combination of a jobless economic recovery and a growing dismissive attitude toward the unemployed professional by the employed business class is creating an “unemployed professional to poverty” class. This could never happen to you, right? Mollee Harper didn’t think so.
Mollee has always been successful and considered her work her primary focus in life. She certainly could never have imagined not being able to afford food. She has been looking for employment since the construction company folded over two years ago. She went through all her savings in eighteen months and applied for government food assistance with no other options.
How could this happen?
The recession is moving into its third year, and the recovery has been the worst since the Great Depression. The official unemployment rate has remained at or above 9% for a record setting 21 months and rose again to over 9% in June 2011. The official rate only counts those that are collecting unemployment benefits.
On December 8, 2010, the Labor Department released its 2009 work report. In 2009, there was an increase of 2.7M long-term unemployed Americans looking for jobs in 2009 over the 2008 total. There were 5.8M job seeking Americans that had no work at all in 2009.
In 2008 and 2009, there was a net loss of approximately 8 million jobs. In 2010, it was first estimated 1.1 million jobs were created. The Labor Department’s January 2011 report revised this figure down to report 950,000 jobs were actually created in 2010. So far in 2011, the monthly net job growth has not kept up with population growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2010 Employment Situation report detailed at 43%, almost half of the long-term unemployed were 45-years and older.
The Economic Institute’s Issue Brief #270 reported at the end of 2009, there was an unemployment rate of 9.7% for American adults. The unemployment rate for African Americans was 15.5%, and it was 12.4% for Hispanics. It was 23.9% for African Americans in Michigan.
A more recent report titled “Another look at poverty in the Great Recession” from the Economic Institute notes, “The U.S. Census Bureau released alternative estimates of poverty yesterday that give yet another reminder of the disastrous effect the recession has had on workers and families.” This report is honest in highlighting the official means of poverty measurement fails in accuracy by not including all relevant factors.
The federal government has had to admit unemployment length has not gotten better in 2010 and 2011. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ regular reporting in the format “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey” provided a “Changes to data collected on unemployment duration” explanation beginning in January 2011. This explanation included the following:
By Brenda Krueger Huffman
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US investment in the Netherlands from 2000 to 2010 was nine times more than US investment in China during the same period. US investment in the UK was more than seven times more, and in Ireland nearly three times more, than in China. (Source: Transatlantic Economy 2011
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