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Most users ever online was 51 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

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Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:35 pm

Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough


Chris McDonough has a master's degree in education, but he's never been a permanent, full-time teacher.
The odd jobs McDonough has worked over the years range from tinkering
with computers to manning a mini market cash register. These days he
substitute teaches for four different school districts.
But he can't find a permanent job in his field to save his life.

"It's frustrating because my father worked hard all his life, and his
father before him worked hard, and it paid off for them," McDonough
said. "I'm doing everything that could reasonably be asked of me,
including applying for jobs out of state, but nothing seems to be
working."

Kern County's 16.9 percent unemployment rate is cause for angst in
and of itself, but it doesn't give a complete picture of the full impact
of the economic downturn.
The unemployment rate doesn't encompass the huge number of people in
the labor force who, although technically employed, are earning far less
pay than they're accustomed to. These include educated and highly
skilled people in menial jobs, and part-time workers who would prefer to
be full-time.

Emotional hit
"Boy, we see that all the time," said Debra Lawson-Tyner, job
developer for the Bakersfield Homeless Center, which witnesses the
wreckage of the recession every day.

The center counsels clients who have fallen on hard times to take
whatever job they can find just to get back on their feet. Most are
willing to swallow their pride to generate some income, but it's hard on
them emotionally, Lawson-Tyner said.
"Many times we define ourselves by our jobs and occupations. It's so
much of who you are," she said. "So you're not just dealing with a loss
of income. You're dealing with a loss of identity. When you're not
productive, or not doing what you're trained to do, it really affects
your self-esteem."

California is one of nine states in the top tier nationally for
workers who are underemployed, according to an ongoing Gallup poll. For
purposes of its survey, Gallup defines as underemployed both respondents
who are out of work and those desiring full-time employment who work
fewer than 30 hours a week.

In California and eight other states, between 21 percent and 25
percent of the labor force was underemployed last year, compared with a
national average of between 18 percent and 21 percent.
While some of these workers will meander back to more lucrative
professions after the economy improves, others may find themselves stuck
off course because employers often look askance at job applicants who
haven't worked in their field for months or years.

'Gaps on their resume'
The rules have changed some in the aftermath of the worst recession
since the Great Depression, said Jackie Flesher, owner of the executive
search firm ProSearch Associates in Bakersfield.

"I think most employers recognize that in this economy, people are
going to have gaps on their resume," she said. "As long as you can prove
and explain what you were doing all that time and weren't in prison or
something, they'll overlook it."
Odds of rebounding are greater depending on the industry, of course.
Health care, which didn't experience massive layoffs during the
recession, might be less tolerant than, say, the energy sector, Flesher
said.
"Here in Bakersfield, oil and gas took a big hit, but that's turned
around now, obviously, and now that they're hiring again they can't find
those people," she said. "I don't know where all the engineers went.
Maybe they're in other fields or just left town."

If you're trying to revive a career that has stalled, Flesher doesn't
recommend admitting that you've, for example, capped a 20-year
engineering career with driving a taxi.
"Make the resume consistent," she said. "If you've been doing
consulting or something part-time to make ends meet, put down
'consulting,' even if it's just consulting for a gardener."

Seeking support
Substitute teacher McDonough said he's become something of a career
student, alternately working odd jobs and going back to school when
there's no work in his chosen profession.
Unfortunately, he always seems to graduate when the economy is
nosediving, which is exactly when cash-strapped schools start issuing
pink slips.
McDonough, 39, is married and has a 3-year-old son, and his wife only works part-time.

They've made an art of juggling their limited funds. The aspiring
educator orchestrates his substitute teaching so paychecks arrive just
ahead of key bill due dates. If McDonough manages to scrape together a
little extra money one month, he buys non-perishable food and hoards it
for lean months to come. And he repairs, rather than replaces, worn out
clothes and shoes.
McDonough said he's exhausted from working multiple jobs and
parenting an active toddler, and he suspects he may be developing a
stress-related ulcer. Yet he tries not to let his fear about the future
worry his family.
There is some comfort in knowing he's not alone.

"When I get a day off, I'll take my son to the park, and I'm always
struck by how many fathers I see," McDonough said. "There was one time
about five of us got to reminiscing about what we used to do.
"There was a former private investigator, a former prison guard, a
former oil guy, a former police officer. It almost turned into this
little self-help group, with all of us trying to lift each other's
spirits."


Impact beyond the individual
Long-term underemployment has ramifications well beyond the personal circumstances of individual families.
When large numbers of people fall into lower tax brackets because
they're not working up to their potential, it causes local, state and
national deficits to balloon and exacerbates the already precarious
position of entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare.

Underemployed people are less likely to have health care benefits
through their employers, but can't count on MediCal or other safety nets
available to the unemployed or extremely poor because they can't pass
income tests to qualify for benefits, said Ron Pollock, executive
director of the health care consumer group Families USA.

If it survives Republican efforts to reverse it, the health care
reform law could help by making affordable insurance policies available
to moderate income families, but most of the law's provisions don't take
effect until 2014, Pollock said.
Widespread underemployment undermines long-term recovery efforts,
said Don Oswald, a retired Cal State Bakersfield professor of economics.

"Human capital is one of the main driving forces behind economic
growth," he said. "The longer this drags on, the more it's problematic
because skills are depreciating, and it's like wearing out machines. In
order to bring that back up, you have to invest large amounts of money
in education and training. This, at a time when not many people have the
resources to do that."

Brenda Ratliffe, director of The Volunteer Center of Kern County,
said volunteering is a great way to keep your skills fresh, and
employers who wouldn't consider that valid experience before are coming
around. "The county now counts volunteer work, which is new for them
just in the last couple of years," she said.

Aftermath: Part-time, temp jobs
The agonizingly slow economic recovery does seem to be creating jobs, but they're often part-time or temporary positions.
That's typical after a recession, Oswald said.
"Employers are reticent to commit to a permanent, full-time worker,
so they'll hire part-time because they like having some flexibility," he
said.


"Once the economy gets better and they're feeling more confident, a lot of those employees will be converted to full-time."
That can't happen soon enough for McDonough, who hopes the networking
he's doing today as a substitute will pay off when school districts
start hiring again.

In the meantime, he's enduring the humiliation of doing work he's overqualified for as best he can.

The graveyard stint at the gas station mini mart was particularly embarrassing.
"I had people find out my background and they were amazed to find me
working at a gas station. They were like, 'What are you doing here?'" he
said.
But McDonough tries to keep some perspective.

"Having studied history and the Great Depression, I focus on the fact
that I haven't lost my home and I'm not standing in a bread line," he
said. "It could be worse."

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/business/economy/x233129487/Workers-have-jobs-but-hours-pay-not-enough

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Re: Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

Post by mrgolf on Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:35 pm

I know if I find work it wouldn't be near the pay I was making before. I doubt it will have medical benefits either
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Re: Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

Post by Guest on Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:27 am

mrgolf wrote:I know if I find work it wouldn't be near the pay I was making before. I doubt it will have medical benefits either

Me too, Mr golf. Almost everyone I know that has been fortunate enough to go back to work is making less money. Many are not even getting full time hours. Underemployed is the new normal it seems.

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Re: Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

Post by mrgolf on Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:02 am

Need2Bworking wrote:
mrgolf wrote:I know if I find work it wouldn't be near the pay I was making before. I doubt it will have medical benefits either

Me too, Mr golf. Almost everyone I know that has been fortunate enough to go back to work is making less money. Many are not even getting full time hours. Underemployed is the new normal it seems.
When I was first laid off in Oct of 2007 I really thought I would find a better job at a much higher rate of pay within a couple of month. After almost 18 years on the same job I was ready for a month or so off. Boy was I wrong.
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Re: Workers have jobs, but hours, pay not enough

Post by Phillymg on Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:40 am

Need2Bworking wrote:Almost everyone I know that has been fortunate enough to go back to work is making less money. Many are not even getting full time hours. Underemployed is the new normal it seems.
Yup that's me.....even if my new p/t job hired me f/t for 52 weeks it'd only come to $20,800 a year.....that's what I made in 1982.....
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