Friday, January 9, 2009

U.S. unemployment rate reaches 7.2 percent...

The AP reports today that unemployment rates continued their historic rise in December to 7.2 percent. More than half a million Americans were sent home for good in one month - again. The United States unemployment rate was last this high 16 years ago.

Where others see depression (oops, mentioned the "D" word), I see opportunity. The unemployed folks are building a small army. With nearly one in every 10 Americans out of work, we're 11+ million strong. The image above does not depict a crowd in search of food and government checks, but rather an army in search of answers and government action.

No, not the action taken by lawmakers to give U.S. automakers billions in bailouts. We're certainly glad to hear that Rick Wagoner and General Motors (GM) will receive $13.4 billion to assist their needs, but in the words of Luke Skywalker when asked to join the dark side, "What's in it for me?"

If a long term solution is the answer, why didn't the government implement one a long time ago? It is now an accepted fact that the current recession, entering its second year, is the longest in 25 years.

As a communication professional, I understand that traditional news media are bound to objectivity (for the most part). Thus the opportunity and power of social media, user controlled media, can be further realized. As of 11:20 a.m. (eastern), an "unemployment" search on Technorati yielded more than 42,000 results with roughly 900 new related posts each day this week.

The economy may be discouraging, but it is very encouraging to see the conversation continue online; to read how this recession and unemployment affects others, how real people are dealing with real tough times, and most of all, to feel like I'm not alone. I'm not suggesting that thousands of unemployed Americans will gain employment by discussing it online, but at least we stand a better chance of being heard.

Here are some recent unemployment posts/blogs:

Real people, real lives, really unemployed:


Related news - My "Recession 'PR'oof" post discusses the resistence of the public relations and marketing industries to a recession.

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