Archive for September 27, 2009

52.5% of 16-24 Year Olds Unemployed

Per the New York Post:

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

“It’s an extremely dire situation in the short run,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. “This group won’t do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes.”

Al Angrisani, the former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, doesn’t see a turnaround in the jobs picture for entry-level workers and places the blame squarely on the Obama administration and the construction of its stimulus bill.

“There is no assistance provided for the development of job growth through small businesses, which create 70 percent of the jobs in the country,” Angrisani said in an interview last week. “All those [unemployed young people] should be getting hired by small businesses.”

There are six million small businesses in the country, those that employ less than 100 people, and a jobs stimulus bill should include tax credits to give incentives to those businesses to hire people, the former Labor official said.

“If each of the businesses hired just one person, we would go a long way in growing ourselves back to where we were before the recession,” Angrisani noted.

During previous recessions, in the early ’80s, early ’90s and after Sept. 11, 2001, unemployment among 16-to-24 year olds never went above 50 percent. Except after 9/11, jobs growth followed within two years.

A much slower recovery is forecast today. Shierholz believes it could take four or five years to ramp up jobs again.

A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a government database, said the damage to a new career by a recession can last 15 years. And if young Americans are not working and becoming productive members of society, they are less likely to make major purchases — from cars to homes — thus putting the US economy further behind the eight ball.

Angrisani said he believes that Obama’s economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team — dominated by academics and veterans of big business — has ever started and grown a business.

“The Reagan administration had people who knew of small business,” he said.

“They should carve out $100 billion right now and create something like $5,000 to $6,000 job credits that would drive the hiring of young, idled workers by small business.”

Angrisani said the stimulus money going to extending unemployment benefits is like a narcotic that is keeping the unemployed content — but doing little to get them jobs.

Labor Dept. statistics also show that the number of chronically unemployed — those without a job for 27 weeks or more — has also hit a post-WWII high.

Well, who didn’t see THIS one coming? Telling small businesses (traditional employers of young people) that they may be fined if they don’t provide insurance for all employees under the Obama health care debacle as well as raising the minimum wage above what new employee skills are worth was guaranteed to have this effect. Businesses will not stay in business very long if their costs exceed their income (unless they have friends in Congress that will bail them out with taxpayer funds).

As a serial entrepreneur myself, I can’t see any reason why I should pay somebody a salary plus benefits which are higher than the funds that he or she is generating for my bottom line. I certainly wouldn’t expect anybody else to do so.

Employees look at their after tax paychecks and blame the employer. However, the employer is required to pay workmen’s comp insurance on the employee, pay half the social security taxes, plus pay vacation, sick time, and/or a hefty portion of insurance policies, if any. That minimum wage job could be costing the employer double the employee’s hourly wage, depending on industry. A lot of employers have decided it ain’t worth it.

Don’t even get me started about people actually showing up for work in the morning. We found that the only people that we could reliably depend on to show up for work on Monday morning (and Friday afternoon) were middle-aged people our age.

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Baby Fighting for Life Could Not Beat Swine Flu

From Jacksonville.com:

John Aiden Warren overcame so much in his brief nine months that his miracles were getting routine.

There was the time doctors gave him a day to live unless his kidneys started working again. The next day, he had a wet diaper. Another time, his mother caught him jabbing at one of his toys with his left arm, defying the left-sided paralysis a stroke had inflicted several months earlier. And who could forget those big, toothless smiles that flashed through the pain?

“He loved proving people wrong,” his mother, Allison, says.

When prenatal tests showed that their second son would be born with a debilitating heart defect, Allison and John Warren started mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for the tough road ahead.

The Jacksonville couple knew their fragile child would need immediate surgery for a chance at life. They accepted that Aiden – he was known by his middle name – would require two more grueling procedures to survive his toddler years. And they had come to terms with his ultimate prognosis: After all those heroic medical measures, he almost certainly would die by the time he reached middle age unless he received a heart transplant.

But there was still something neither they nor Aiden’s team of pediatric experts had anticipated: swine flu.

Aiden died in his mother’s arms on Sept. 3 at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The doctors and nurses who had tried everything to save him over the previous three weeks surrounded the dying boy and his mother, having nothing more to offer but tears and quiet reverence.

In Florida to date, he is the second-youngest swine flu victim and one of only three children under 5 years old to die. His death, though, was more than just the heartbreaking denouement of a life full of obstacle-smashing – it underscored the peculiar dangers that the swine flu, technically known as the H1N1 virus, poses to certain high-risk individuals.

Read the rest at the link. When we hear of a person succumbing to swine flu, we rarely get any details. These details are heartrending.

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