Sunday, July 19, 2009

a sign of the times


At first I thought the sign said "Hungry, need food" so I reached into my dashboard compartment where I keep dollar bills for just such a purpose. But when I stopped at the traffic light and could clearly see his sign, I rolled down the window and asked what kind of work he needed. He said, "I used to do janitorial work but now am mainly doing things like landscaping." I'd guess that "landscaping" would include cutting lawns, pulling weeds and maybe planting trees and shrubs. Last week he'd started coming out on the street corner with his sign and had gotten a few jobs as a result. Today he was out there waiting for a woman who'd promised to come back on Saturday to give him a job. He was OK with my taking his picture.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 49 metropolitan areas with a Census 2000 population of 1
million or more, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Michigan, reported the highest unemployment rate in May, 2009, 14.9 percent. But this is probably lower than the reality because of the methods used in taking the survey. For instance, if this fellow had been interviewed yesterday he would have been counted as employed because he'd earned wages during the week prior to the interview. It wouldn't matter how much he'd earned or how temporary was the job. Another point is that for purposes of the survey a person is considered unemployed if they are jobless but are actively looking and are available for work. That means if they've stopped looking and simply given up on finding a job--as many have--they are no longer counted as unemployed.

Then there is the Wall Street-based Goldman Sachs bank that received--and has now paid back--a $10 billion injection of TARP funds in late 2008 to help it weather the market meltdown. According to an article in the New York Times last week, "Goldman posted the richest quarterly profit in its 140-year history and, to the envy of its rivals, announced that it had earmarked $11.4 billion so far this year to compensate its workers. At that rate, Goldman employees could, on average, earn roughly $770,000 each this year--or nearly what they did at the height of the boom."

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's his phone number?

November 2, 2009 at 8:03 PM  

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