When Unemployment hits close to home

When Unemployment hits close to home

The national unemployment rate is misleading and it’s used as a political ploy. The media loves to state how much the unemployment number has “dropped” down to 5 percent, a significant reduction compared to the Great Recession numbers of 2008, which were more than double that figure.  What isn’t factored into that number are the countless millions who are so hopelessly out of work that they’ve given up looking for employment.  My father falls into that category.

My father was laid off in 2012, after 40 plus years in the printing industry.  His company had to scale down their workforce to keep their bottom line in check, and who do you think was first on the chopping block? Employees who were the closest to retirement age, of course.  Why keep a workforce on with higher accrued salaries when you can just hire kids right out of college and pay them an entry-level wage, which they’ll gladly accept.  This man, who worked his butt off to provide for my mother, myself, and my two sisters all of his adult life, was promptly given the boot and sent on his merry way.  This Navy veteran, who fought for our country during the Vietnam War and sacrificed time away from his family to keep our borders secure and the American people safe.

And how has our country re-paid this man?  By treating him like another expendable number.  To watch my father apply for job after job, and either not receive a call or e-mail back, or go to the interview only to be told he’s over-qualified. (Translation: You’re 62 years old, and 3 years from retirement, you think we’re going to hire you?)  To watch him make countless calls to the unemployment office with no new news or have to file extensions just to stay afloat.  To have him and my mother rely on her part-time job and their credit cards just to get by month after month.  I don’t think I can ever truly express into words how much that has pained me to watch them endure that or the disgust I feel towards our government.  Luckily, they both turned 65 this year and are now on Medicare and are receiving their pensions.  But my mother will most likely continue to work part-time into her 70’s to supplement their income and wages that they’ve lost.  But hey, Big Government, that’s the American dream right?  Why don’t you stick those unemployment numbers where the sun doesn’t shine, be truthful to the American people, and come up with a solution for the unemployed in this country.

Kevin Hayes


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