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The Geography of Jobs 2004-2010


"A picture is worth a thousand words," so goes the saying.  Understanding what has happened in jobs loss and gains across the US can be hard to take in at times.  This map of the gain and loss of jobs, developed by an Austin, Texas based firm, may help us all really understand the enormity of the changes that have been occurring, and better appreciate the impact of the changes on millions of Americans and others working at locations across the nation.  Take a look at how this map depicts your area and those of other people you know.


The Link:


Michigan lawmakers first to try to balance the relief and pain between employers and job seekers


 LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Thousands of unemployed people in Michigan could continue receiving extended federal unemployment benefits under a plan approved by state lawmakers Wednesday, though state-level benefits would be limited for people filing new jobless claims next year.  The legislation is House Bill 4408.


The extended benefits come through a federally-funded program that provides up to 20 weeks of payments to unemployed people who have exhausted state benefits and some types of federal benefits. Those extended benefits are set to expire for 35,000 Michigan residents in early April, and for 150,000 residents by the end of 2011.


The current system, including temporary federal extensions, allows some Michigan workers to get jobless benefits for up to 99 weeks. That would drop if state benefits are available for a shorter time, depending on when workers enter the unemployment benefits system.  Under the bill approved by Michigan lawmakers, residents making initial claims for unemployment benefits starting in mid-January 2012 would be eligible for no more than 20 weeks of state benefits while the current maximum is 26 weeks.


Some legislators said the change would save Michigan employers about $600,000,000 a year. Michigan residents would still be eligible for whatever federal extensions are available when they exhaust their state benefits.  The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder who is expected to sign it, the governor's priority being “to make sure no one receiving unemployment benefits was cut off abruptly”, according to a spokesperson.


Other legislators claim the bill hurts workers: "It doesn't help them" and the move "the ultimate slap in the face to our unemployed workers."  Others said the plan makes sense, given the poor financial shape of the state's unemployment insurance system. Michigan has had to ask for more than $3,800,000,000 in federal loans to cover the cost of unemployment benefits over the past two years. 


The legislation approved Wednesday also includes measures designed to fight fraud, which supporters say could prevent the loss of more money; a reading of the legislation suggests the majority of the language in the bill is related to fighting fraud.  The reduction to 20 weeks of benefits from 26 weeks is but one sentence in the bill:




 Link to bill:


Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville stated "We think that's real good help for those folks that are unemployed, but at the same time, we need to give some relief to businesses that are paying these bills."

Other states are reported to be considering similar legislation to reduce the number of weeks of unemployment benefits to stem the tide of red ink in state budgets.


Source of original news: March 23, 2011, 10:19 p.m. EDT, Associated Press


UPDATE - HR 4408 became Michigan Public Act 14 on March 29, 2011.


Two New Finding Work Articles


New articles continue to be added to the website.  Here are two of the newest articles in the Finding Work section:

    * The 8 Key Character Traits of Top ‘Work Search’ Pros

    * 5 Ways to Survive 'Work Search Shipwreck'

Those between jobs told not to apply


A recent report shows a growing trend that is disturbing.  "'At a moment when we all should be doing whatever we can to open up job opportunities to the unemployed, it is profoundly disturbing that the trend of deliberately excluding the jobless from work opportunities is on the rise,' Christine Owens, who runs the National Employment Law Center, told the EEOC.


"Some experts say that discrimination against the jobless, as currently practiced, may violate civil rights laws--a question the commission is now considering. In itself, such discrimination isn't illegal. (New Jersey is exploring legislation that would prohibit job ads telling the unemployed not to apply.) But it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race or age. And African-Americans and older workers are disproportionately represented among the long-term unemployed--meaning they may be bearing the brunt of discrimination against the jobless.  The EEOC declined to say whether it's investigating specific cases of potential violations.


"Some employers have said they're unwilling to hire unemployed workers because they believe that if a worker has once been let go, that's a sign that he or she is probably not a great hire.' People who are currently employed … are the kind of people you want as opposed to people who get cut,' one recruiter told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in October.  And Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke has said, when people are out of work for a long time, their skills can erode, which may understandably make them less attractive to employers."  [Source of quote: see link below.  KS]


Anyone looking for new work does need to keep their skills current, attending a community or local college or even courses online, or through some type of training.  Showing that you are keeping up is critically important, considering these types of attitudes, repugnant as they are, and as technology continues to introduce new tools and techniques.   Employers are struggling to find talented people, with fewer HR people, but assuming that one has no value--"need not apply--because they have been caught in downsizing, economic downturns, and then persuaded that trusting the state employment services and Internet postings as the way to help them is patently ignorant.  Research and anecdotes have consistently and over time shown that most jobs--75% or more--are found by networking, word-of-mouth.  To further punish those without jobs because they've been sold a bill of goods on how to find a job and stay employable is cruel. 


Employers that tell folks not to apply because they are already between jobs will likely learn that the reputation they'll get from such policies will come back to haunt them.  Job seekers can have long memories about organizations that poorly treat applicants for positions.  "Brand reputation" works for both applicants and the organizations that need workers.


And churches and faith-communities ought to be leading the way in making certain those looking for work are supported, encouraged and advocated for when such practices and policies surface.  WWJD?

-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA Master Career Counselor

Read more about this at


Good news of people landing jobs


If you listen to too much news about the poor economy and unemployment figures (stop doing that!), one can get rather frustrated and even depressed.  Lately I’ve heard from several people looking for work who’ve landed new positions.  Here are four people’s stories (edited and/or summarized) that I’d heard from since the first of March who have been involved in EaRN ministries.  - Ken Soper


My last manager gave my name to [a technical recruiting firm] and requested they contact me to fill a contract position with my last employer. So I am working doing my old job on a temporary contract bases. The reason I landed the job when they could have hired a lower cost person would be because I am already trained for the job. Also I did a great job for them in the past and they don't like to expose new people to the proprietary technology that they use in the manufacture of solar cells. We have had some very exciting advances in the next generation of solar cell manufacturing so maybe this contract will last longer than the 3-6 months I was promised.


The market has seemed to pick up quite a bit, seems like a lot more jobs. OR maybe I am just much more motivated!  I have been really getting out there and interviewing.  [With one company] I have interviewed 3x with 7 different people - it was a grueling process. It’s a great opportunity – it’s not in a "beige cube", it’s flexible, and the positions really capitalizes on my strengths! And fits perfect with the fact that I am an ENFP!  [A week later] I just wanted to let you know that I got the position with [company name]! I am very excited and ready to go back to work!  I start next Monday...and I will be working from home roughly 3 days a week, and in the field 2 days or so. It will be nice to have this type of flexibility. I never thought I could get this type of position - especially in HR. I thought I was beige cube doomed forever! ;-)


Had three opportunities percolating, then a verbal offer and was waiting on the written offer.  From what I had learned with your Roundtable meetings, I knew not to count on any offer until I got it in writing.  All of a sudden on Tuesday evening out of the blue I was called by a firm that found me on a job board.    Got 5 interviews (first 2 by phone) in less than 4 days and a better offer than the one I was waiting on.


Just a note to say that I was hired as Inventory Control Specialist for a food manufacturing firm using skills and knowledge from my prior position and start on Monday; I'd applied in mid February.  With my past work experience and my attention to detail and problem solving skills I believe it'll be a good fit. They're a growing company, currently working a lot of hours.


"Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:30-31 (Today’s New International Version, ©2005)


Retirement planning meets stark realities in a flattened world


US News reports that "many workers on the verge of retirement with poorly funded 401(k)s wish they had a traditional pension. But few workers still have access to a retirement plan that will provide guaranteed payments for the rest of their lives. Less than a third (31 percent) of employees were offered a traditional pension at work in 2010, and only 28 percent participated, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Follow this link to find out why we may not receive payments from a traditional pension in retirement.  It's not a fun situation to contemplate, but we all ought to be paying closer attention to it as we look for work and help others do so.  Doing so may help us plan our own futures more intentionally.

    • No union card.
    • You're not a public servant.
    • You work for a small company.
    • You picked a pension-less industry.
    • You job hop.
    • You don't work full-time.
    • You don't live in an area where pensions are prevalent.



      The Best of Web resources

      Not all websites are created equal, so to speak.  Those looking for work will find that not every job search website is really helpful, some even are not interested in you as a job seeker but want to scam you.

      EaRN is committed to only "publish the best, disregard the rest."  Ken Soper, NCDA Master Career Counselor, has just uploaded a new Web Resources article to the Articles section available to those who are working through EaRN Affiliate Organization participants.