Would-be Nevada Senator Sharron Angle has recently taken to depicting America's unemployed as a group of people so spoiled by the extension of unemployment benefits that they have basically stopped looking for work, preferring to live on the dole than accept one of the many magical jobs she claims are available. Angle's position is one that's been gaining steam recently among 2010 candidates -- Rand Paul, for example, recently characterized the unemployed as a group that needs to accept "a wage that's less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work," adding, "Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen."
It's not just candidates, however. Representative John Linder (R-Ga.) -- the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee -- citing a "Detroit News story about landscaping businesses complaining that potential employees rejected job offers in favor of collecting unemployment benefits," decreed that "nearly two years of unemployment benefits are too much of an allure for some."
But Linder's example happens to be an exception. The basic reality for America's job seekers is that currently there are five people looking for work for every job opening. The average unemployment benefit is a scant $290 per week. And, as Arthur Delaney reported on these pages in early June, there are other difficult-to-ignore facts that harpoon the notion that the unemployed are content to live off benefits:
Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute pointed out that only 67 percent of the 15 million unemployed receive benefits. Even if all those people are enjoying the dole, shouldn't businesses still be able to hire some of the other five million receiving no benefits at all?
Exactly. If unemployment benefits truly tamp down the motivation of job seekers, there would still be about five million people going after the jobs that Sharron Angle believes exist with a rabid intensity.
But enough of the view from 30,000 feet. What is actually going on with job seekers in America? Well, as it turns out, they are desperately seeking jobs, wherever they may be:
Hundreds of people attended a healthcare career fair sponsored by WALB Wednesday. Doors were opened at the Merry Acres Event Center 15 minutes early because of the long line of people wanting to get their resumes before employers.
Hundreds of job hunters descended on the Amway Arena today looking to meet dozens of potential employers for Congresswoman Corrine Brown's Annual Job Fair. Hiring employers included the military, law enforcement, theme parks, and other local and national companies.
More than 1,500 job seekers filed into Augusta State University's Christenberry Fieldhouse on Thursday afternoon.
Trevor Huggins, 23, handed out résumés in hopes of landing a full-time gig.
"I've got an interview with an insurance company and I've handed out a few résumés," he said. "I just graduated from Mercer in Macon and moved back here so now I'm just looking for a job."
More than 60 potential employers attended the event, including Aflac, AT&T, Scana and Spherion. About 1,600 people attended, organizers said.
Some of those looking for a new job handed out their resumes at a job fair Thursday. Around 1700 hundreds applicants attended the 4th annual job expo at Christenberry Field House. There were plenty of job openings to apply for including medical jobs, teaching jobs and factory work. They also had resume critique sessions and seminars on how to scout out the job fair.
The competition was stiff. There were nearly 30 times the number of job seekers as employers.
By 3 p.m. Wednesday, about 50 job-seekers were lined up outside the Watsonville Career Center on West Beach Street. During the next 90 minutes, 278 people passed through the doors in hopes of finding work at a job fair sponsored by Workforce Santa Cruz County.
"For me, I feel so happy. There's a lot of opportunities," said Maria Murillo.
For 10 years, Murillo operated La Azteca, the restaurant she and her husband owned in Corralitos. But with three small children at home and her husband working as an electronics engineer in Silicon Valley, the couple decided to sell the business. Three months later, he was laid off.
"I wish somebody would hire me," Murillo said as she left clutching a stack of fliers. "I'm looking for any type of job."
Connie Corbett, manager of the career center, said Wednesday's job fair was designed to attract local residents, and since space was limited, only 10 companies were represented.
Hundreds of job seekers lined up at the Florence County Civic Center Tuesday morning, dressed to impress with resumes in hand. Representatives from businesses around the area were there to talk about the employment opportunities their companies have to offer.
Those who attended were able to inquire about 150 available jobs, ranging from entry-level to managerial positions. Waffle House, Target, RBC Bearings and Bankers Life Insurance were among the companies advertising at the job fair.
Officials with Alvin S. Glenn Dentention Center called their job fair on Tuesday a success, after more than 100 people showed up to fill an application.
"It's a tough place to work but it's a great opportunity to work in criminal justice, so we're hoping to get 20 great applicants to fill the positions," said Kathy Harrell with the facility.
Hundreds of job seekers shuffled through Benjamin Franklin School on Friday, as representatives from 15 local businesses took resumes and fielded questions at a Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now-sponsored job fair.
WILLISTON, N.D. - A recent job fair in Williston drew 126 people from 20 states seeking oil field work and other jobs.
Nearly hour before the job fair began the line of job seekers already stretched out the door of Indian River State College in Stuart. And that line continued to grow.
More than 2000 people pre-registered for the job fair, including mothers with children in toe, managers and professionals laid off in the middle of their careers, and entry level job seekers trying to land that first job.
Nineteen employers set up booths at the fair. Collectively, they have more than 400 positions available.
Summer heat and a brief downpour failed to discourage a throng of about 4,000 job seekers Thursday as they vied for about 400 positions from 19 predominantly local employers.
Workforce Solutions hosted what was to have been a three-hour job fair from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Indian River State College Chastain Campus. However, things did not go entirely as planned.
"When we got here at 9 a.m. to set up, there were already people here," said Odaly Victorio, Workforce Solutions communications coordinator. "At 12:30, we had already seen about 2,000 people.
Greene was one of approximately 200 people who visited the Goodwill Career Center in Opelika Saturday morning during a job fair for Hyundai Mobis. The manufacturing facility, on the pad of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point, Ga., is looking to add 140 jobs to create another shift.
The fair began at 8 a.m., but when Bryant arrived for work at 7 a.m., he said people were already waiting in line.
According to numbers provided by organizers, a job fair held today at Harris-Stowe State University attracted more than 5,000 job seekers.
Congressman Lacy Clay's 5th Annual Career Fair promised around 100 employers. Before it opened, the line of job seekers stretched nearly around the building.
So that's the real state of affairs. Far from being a nation of lazy sots, living off the government teat, America's unemployed are strivers. They are looking for work, everywhere. Entry-level work. Low-paying work. They show up early, they stand in line, and they often vastly outnumber the number of jobs available. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just out of touch with what's going on in the country.
By the way, let me clue Representative Linder in as to what's in the Detroit News today:
Some 36 companies, including the local offices of General Electric Co., Aflac and software firm ESI, set up recruiting shops Thursday in a job fair at the Rock Financial Showplace. They are looking to fill more than 3,000 positions, ranging from insurance agents and sales personnel to engineers and financial planners.
Thousands of Metro Detroit job seekers showed up at the one-day event sponsored by HiredMyWay, a job recruiting firm.
Stop attacking the unemployed, chump.