Help Wanted is Need to Know’s monthly series dedicated to exploring America’s jobs crisis. It will continue on the first Friday of every month through Election Day 2012, to coincide with the jobs report.
An estimated 6.5 million jobs have been lost since the Great Recession hit nearly four years ago. When you lose your job, unemployment insurance is there to cushion the blow — as long as you keep looking for work. But in Oregon, that venerable safety net is offering something very different: a chance to fulfill a dream that is as American as apple pie — or Apple computers.
The program encourages workers who have been laid off to use their unemployment benefits to start new businesses. The idea is that if the new businesses succeed — and they do, at an unusually high rate — these new employers will hire workers of their own. Need to Know’s Karla Murthy reports: