Month after month, the US is still losing hundreds of thousands of jobs. If you believe the media hype, we are either doing well because we didn't lose as many jobs as last month or we are doing worse because the numbers are still in the hundreds of thousands. Here is an example of the conflicting information we are getting. A Gallop poll released on May 19 states: Gallup's Net New Hiring Index was positive last week for the first time since the first week of January, with more workers telling Gallup their employers are hiring rather than letting people go. Barely two weeks later on June 2 this was released by Gallop: During the week after Memorial Day, consumers' mood nearly reached its high for the year, with 38% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" and only 45% rating current economic conditions "poor." Still, job creation is not improving, job losses continue unabated.
In the state of Georgia as many as 45,000 people have fallen off the radar because they have exhausted their EUC Tier ll benefits. Given that, how can we trust that the unemployment statistics are accurate on a state level as well as nationally. As one of the jobless in this Country, I am finding it increasingly difficult to land a position in an area that boosts a 9.3% unemployment rate. And before you even start to judge me, let me preface that my job search has involved applying for jobs/positions that would leave me under-employed, and yet I apply anyway because I need the money. I just want to work-even if it means flipping burgers!
My unemployment ran out the first week of March and since then I have been doing odd jobs to make money. During that time, the State of Georgia passed the needed legislation to start accepting the ARRA funds that would provide 100% Federal funding for the States extended benefits program. With the passage of that Bill came hope for around 45,000 Georgians who, like me, have lost UI benefits. Information from the Georgia DOL has been slow in coming and on May 22, 2009, the GA DOL finally updated their web site with an application for the SEB (State Extended Benefits) program. The information is sparse, leaving us to wonder why the GADOL is leaving us in the dark. Today is June 3rd and once again we the unemployed get silence from the GA DOL concerning when the SEB funds will be released.
In the 3 month span since running out of EUC benefits, I started a blogging space for other unemployed Georgians, so that we could come together online and share our stories, offer up support and any information we each might be getting from the GA DOL. What stands out with all of this is, that many of us have lost our homes or are about to. We have gone without food and the necessities of everyday life, such as gas and car insurance, and in many cases health insurance. Some have had their cars repossessed and are eating ramen or in some cases not eating at all. I personally have lost 25 pounds and I was at my correct weight for my height. We are a diversified group ranging from single parents to senior citizens. Many of us are under educated, many are over educated. The common thread is that we need a lifeline to carry on a diligent search for work, and take care of ourselves and our families. Truth be told, we all have suffered on an emotional level and yet still no information is being released about when we will get the funds from the GA DOL so we can continue to just survive.
Since the Governor signed this Bill on April 21, many other States have not only been able to pass the needed laws but are already getting the extended benefits to their citizens. So, my question is....What is Georgia's problem?
Everyday many of us call the GA DOL to find out when we can expect to receive the funds, the answers we receive are as varied as the people we speak with. Today's version is that it is an IT problem and it looks like the end of June until we see the money. I have news for you GA DOL-many of us are past the waiting stage-we can't wait any longer. We have mouths to feed and bills to pay. My questions are:
1) Ga trigger on date is Feb 22, why are we being told that benefits are not retroactive to the date we ran out of EUC?
2) What is the delay in getting information out to us? And why is the information given by the DOL either inconsistent or nonexistent?
3) When can we expect extended benefits to reach us? We would like a date.
It is time for you to show us the money. We are demanding answers, ones that show the level of transparency that we were promised.