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Need to Know, November 4, 2011: Creating opportunity

On this month’s edition of Help Wanted, our ongoing project featuring stories from America’s jobs crisis, Need to Know travels from one coast to the other to highlight two statewide initiatives that have helped curb unemployment. We also launch our new series, American Voices, featuring essayists from diverse backgrounds with diverse points of view. Jeff Greenfield hosts.

Also: As part of our Help Wanted series, we want to hear from you. What sacrifices have you had to make in order to “get by” in today’s economy? Share your stories.

Check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

Staying on the job

Rhode Island is using unemployment insurance to keep workers on the job. The so-called “workshare plan” enables businesses thinking of firing workers to reduce their hours instead. The state makes up most of the difference in pay. This means the state pays out less than if the workers had been fired, employees get to keep their jobs, and companies keep their workforces essentially intact.

Self starters

Oregon encourages workers who have been fired 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.

American Voices: Reihan Salam

Reihan Salam of The National Review argues that private initiatives, not federal subsidies, are the way to get the country back on track.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.



  • Anonymous

    Using unemployment benefits to keep someone employed is wrong. Government is giving the business a subsidy. Why should government pick winners and losers? That business has competitors, who are not receiving a subsidy. Those successful competitors might be able to expand and hire new workers, but when they have to compete with a subsidized business, that is much less likely.

  • AllisonCS

    Great segment on joblessness and unemployment in US, as well as potential initiatives to keep workers employed. Thanks!

  • Count Sebastian

    “Golden Apple Awards” & diplomas were given me by the school districts… did not save me from being laid off as a Teacher of Graphic Design, TV Production, Visual Communication & Multimedia (in San Francisco). Although I have been a Designer & Web Developer since 1995 with 7 years of teaching experience.

    Bottom line is: As a foreigner from Poland (biggest Ally of USA since 1640), I did graduate from US High School in 2 years, and University in 3 years (arrived being 16, due to involvement in SOLIDARITY) ; there is NO EXCUSE WHY US born students are failing.
    Wake up!!, hello!
    If you don’t invest in educating your children, jobs will be & are being taken over by those who put Education on their 1st Priority. Look around; BTW, how many books You read this year?
    Take it from me. We know. After all, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko was teaching Washington’s Army how to fight, Pulaski got a bullet for USA. There are many Cities & streets named after them.
    They didn’t have to do it, ..but they believed that they are supporting a cause.
    And how United States Of America, paid off? = Sold US to Stalin.
    Greed & stupidity is running this ‘God Blessed’ country to the ground. Forgetting about basic common sense, chasing One$, greed in ruining this wonderful county to the ground.
    Therefore, I feel said, but PROUD, because.. If it wasn’t for my ancestors fighting, Brits would be speaking German.
    Got Questions!?!

  • John Ross

    Those are excellent, innovative ideas, but exporting American factories for low wage labor in China and other competing nations is economic treason and should be illegal. Ultimately, planet Earth is not growing to accomodate our growing human economy but is slowly shrinking with each volcano and earthquake; and our accumulating garbage is filling up and killing the ocean, so to put all the unemployed back to work while they train for better jobs we need to safely recycle 100% of all human-generated waste products, while peacefully reducing our population with family planning education, which will create a labor shortage and raise wages.

  • Oldandfoolish

    The question of who is best in creating jobs has to be treated in terms of where we are in an economic situation. Right now all private sectors appear to be holding back waiting demands to come back. In this situation only the Fed Gov can spend money to create jobs either directly or indirectly with projects employing private sectors because it can “print money”. Once the economy is running normally, private sectors will do the job better.

  • Tom

    Technically the United States is not a two-party system, so do not say that unemployment will be a problem for Obama or his Republican successor just say successor. Thank you.