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More from 99ers: An Update on Gregg Rosen, and Why Some Companies Say They Still Can't Find Employees
Paul Solman: The last few days, we've been running outtakes from last Friday's long-term unemployment story, including two featuring pony-tailed 40-year-old former marketing manager and cell phone store owner Gregg Rosen.
Today, a response from Mr. Rosen, after I wrote to say that a prospective employer, "Mr. L," had contacted us and asked Mr. Rosen to call.
"Two updates: I am still trying to get in contact with Mr. L..., he is currently on vacation. I just received my first call from a headhunter in over two years who thought I would be a perfect fit for a client she represents, UNTIL I told her how long I have been out of work. She then said they would not want to speak with someone who has been without work for so long. Sincerely,
Meanwhile, we're still hearing from viewers about our 99ers coverage. You can see a sample here and here of some of the comments we've received. Some commenters, like Mikezline, thought our story underplayed the extent of the desperation 99ers are faced with:
Paul, you could have found a better example of a 99'er than Mr. Rosen. Although he has had a lot of bad luck and is a 99er, looking at his beautiful home it's hard to feel sorry for him. Obviously he still has a lot of assets that he could sell to live on. Contrastingly, there are plenty of 99ers who have lost EVERYTHING and some of them are living in cardboard boxes. You should have sought out and interviewed one of those who is truly destitute.
In addition to the folks we profiled on the broadcast, we also posted other stories like J.A.'s. Many are truly heartbreaking. You can view some of them here.
While there were those that felt we UNDERplayed the plight of the 99ers, others thought we OVERplayed the extent of the problem. For instance, a viewer in Illinois e-mailed us:
I see over and over where people are more help from the goverment with more free unemployment. In Illinois they are yelling there are no JOBs. Why is this when in Chicago alone there is over 4000 jobs posted on HOT JOBS alone. I feel unemployment has become a way of life for so manny that its harming the main streem who do have jobs. I also feel that 99 weeks of unemployment is more than enough for people to learn new skills, get re-trained or do what ever they need to do to get a JOB. The goverment can not afford to keep paying people who do nothing to help them-selves. Im sure most of these 99ers are also the same people who wile they were employed sat and complained about the people on walefair being a drain on the system, but its ok for them to be a drain as long as its in the form of unemployment? Where will it stop!!! What happens after that 20 weeks is gone and they are still unemployed?
We checked the Hot Jobs listings in Chicago and found thousands of job openings too. Many looked legitimate but we saw a fair share of postings that seemed rather...unconventional.
We discovered a training and internship firm which asked job seekers to hire THEM rather than the other way around.
One company sought people to fill out surveys:
"Would you like to join the finest minds in research? Share your opinion? Get paid between $5 and $75 for each survey you complete? You've come to the right place!"
Another offered similar work:
"It's pretty simple. There is no registration cost, gimmicks or gambles. Just enter your PayPal-enabled email address and we'll send you directly to a survey. Qualify for and complete the entire survey, and we will send a $1.00-$75.00 payment to your PayPal address."
The Wall Street Journal ran a story on Monday about companies who say they are hiring but aren't getting a big response. The piece points to a few possible reasons for this: extended unemployment benefits are a disincentive to finding a job, some people cannot move for work, and many job seekers don't have the skills required for specialized positions. Dan Gross of Slate wrote about this too.
We contacted a couple of the companies profiled in the WSJ article.
Linda Fillingham at parts manufacturer Mechanical Devices confirmed the account. "I have much more work we could do. I have four other companies we've been trying to branch out with," Fillingham told us.
The company has been hiring since January but has been unable to fill the 40 $13-$18/hour manufacturing positions they need. Why? Fillingham thinks unemployment insurance is partly to blame. "If you're going to pay them to sit at home, why would they go work?" She also said the people who do apply lack the necessary skills or cannot move for the job.
Gary Price, VP of Human Resources at Pilot Flying J, felt the article misrepresented the situation his company is in. He told us the firm is indeed getting the same number of applications as they received when unemployment was 5 percent but, counter to the contention of the WSJ report, his company is not struggling to hire. Price said, "We get enough applicant flow for the number of openings we have to stay staffed."
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