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The Sound of Ideas

A Blue Collar Depression

Posted Friday, March 5, 2010

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A Blue Collar Depression Looking at the numbers, it turns out blue collar workers have lost their jobs faster than the rest of the nation. When the economy fell off a cliff, you might say it landed on them. Certain work force sectors have been hit so hard by the recession, the rate of job losses there match the plunge in overall employment during the Great Depression. Friday morning at 9, Plain Dealer Metro columnist Regina Brett and guests discuss what the fallout may be and whether the needs of the long-term unemployed can be met.


Economy, Help Wanted, Regional Economy/Business - Analysis and Trends, Government/Politics


Tom Fisher, Truck Driver
Andrew Sum, Professor of Economics & Director of the Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University
George Zeller, Economic Research Analyst

Additional Information

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America, by Don Peck, The Atlantic
Labor Underutilization Problems of U.S. Workers Across Household Income Groups at the End of the Great Recession, study by the Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University

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Hard Hatted Women 9:45 AM 3/5/10

Why is unemployment higher in men? More and more families are relying on the income of women, who are often the main breadwinner of the families. There are many women who are also single head of households- in Ohio 41% of these females with children live in poverty. Many of these women aren’t considered unemployed, but don’t make enough to care for themselves and their children.

It is necessary to make sure that both men AND women are gaining access to jobs and benefits. Unfortunately, as discussed, many of the higher paying jobs are in manufacturing and construction, but those are the jobs being cut the most. Men are losing these jobs and have a difficult time reentering due to lack of jobs. Females have a difficult time gaining access to these careers, in part to the fact that the jobs just aren’t there, but they also face many barriers that women, especially single mothers, must deal with when entering the workplace. Issues of childcare, lack of education, and transportation are all barriers that must be overcome.

Fred Wright 9:45 AM 3/5/10

I know the people who have been having a hard time finding jobs and unemployment has been their life line but there are a large group of people who get unemployment that say they are looking for jobs but aren’t. In other words because of the way you register to get paid each week it’s easy to lie about their job search. I can only guess but it could be more than 50%.

When I got unemployment years ago I had to prove I was looking for work, now they just sit at home and register online each week and do nothing.

I think they are breaking the law...please comment.

tom frazier 9:55 AM 3/5/10

It is incredibly dissapointing to listen to all of the doom and gloom as I work my butt off trying to get my manufacturing processes going and bring a new industry to northeast Ohio.  With just a little bit of help I could have 7 people working several of which would be a production engineer, marketing / merchandising person, office administration, and 4 production people.
There is no help from the any state or federal agencies. 
These agencies work from an ‘exclusionary policy’. They find an excuse to include projects taht take effort to get going. They don’t want to have to work. They just want to tag themselves onto something that is already going so they can get credit for saying they did something. 
I think I’ll gag the next time I here about anouther study.  My work week is about 110 hours so there is no more time to go to any workshops or other programs that will just waste my time.
I have other offers in other states that I must consider that are viable.

joelfrominwood 10:02 AM 3/5/10

I greatly appreciate the segment, but a recent point made by Andrew Sum rankled me.  He suggested that women need young, well-trained men to support them, but what about young, well-trained blue collar women supporting themselves?  We need to get beyond these assumptions about self-sufficiency and gender.  The poverty rate among single-female households with children is catastrophic (41%), but wouldn’t it be better to have those women in capable jobs where they can take care of themselves than scolding them for not marrying better?  Right now we don’t have enough jobs for everyone, but we need good jobs for all Ohioans.  Women are deeply underrepresented in the best paying fields, and we need to start providing for them to get retrained and supported too (with childcare, good public transportation, and supports that allow them to actually take advantage of education and training), to participate in recovery too.


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