Who are the 99ers? Do they signify the start of a depression?

The 99ers are the people who have been on unemployment for 99 weeks or more.  There are  a total of 1.4 million people who have not worked for two years.  The average unemployed worker in this group has been unemployed for about 8 months.  This is unprecedented in American history except for the great depression and we have never had people on unemployment compensation this long ever before.

They held a rally in New York recently to protest and demand another extension of their unemployment benefits.  Their benefits are now exhausted and many 99ers have exhausted their savings and are living on borrowed money.  Some are becoming homeless.  At their rally near the New York Stock Exchange the 99ers are telling stories of the agony of their ordeal and they are demanding more benefits.

They apparently can’t find a job because their no one is hiring.  We have to ask how long can we sustain this and how long should the unemployment compensation system carry them?  Can the country continue to lose jobs, have perennially high unemployment, and have a larger and larger segment of society live on government benefits?

The 99ers have connected through websites and listservs and they have teamed up with the major labor unions who support their cause.  They are now a political force and democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Sherrod Brown have responded and co-sponsored a bill to extend unemployment yet again to 119 weeks.  I guess then we have to call them the 119ers.  Are we ready for a permanently unemployed class of people?

I am a bankruptcy lawyer in San Diego.

Please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com


California “real” unemployment rate is 22%- the worst since the great depression!

(See here for my blog on how actual unemployment is up because people are leaving the workforce).

60 Minutes did an expose on unemployment in the US with a special eye on California.  I revealed some shocking and astounding stats showing an unemployment reality that is far worse than what we imagined.

The 60 Minutes piece revealed that:

22% unemployment in Californiathe worst since the great depression!  (The national figure was 17.5%).  If you include the under-employed (people working part-time that want to work full-time), and the people who have given up looking for a job the real unemployment rate in California is 22%.  The regular unemployment for California stands at 9.7%.

– Congress has responded by extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks which will cost more than 100 billion dollars.  The people collecting unemployment compensation for 99 weeks (or 2 years) are now called “99ers”.

– More than one in 5 people is unemployed or under-employed.  That has a devastating effect on the state.  These people cannot pay taxes.  They cannot pay their bills.  They will lose homes, cars and some will become homeless.

– One woman talks of applying for a clerk position where 4 jobs were sought after by 2000 applicants.  Another man has looked for a job for 2 years and he finally got one at Target for $9 an hour.  Whole buildings are vacant in San Jose (silicon valley) where 75,000 jobs have been lost.

– Many of the unemployed are well-educated.  20% have college degrees.  One third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than a year which has not happened since the great depression.

Where are we going with all of this?  Bread lines? Soup kitchens?  How about world war III to get us all out of it in the end (deja vu all over again)?   Anyone else think we need new economic policies to restart this economy? I don’t believe that the country or the state can sustain this forever.

Bankruptcies are up yes but will there be anyone left to go bankrupt?  What if we have 30% or 40% unemployment in the future?  My advice to my clients is to file for bankruptcy now to get out of debt and if we are lucky this will blow over in 2 years and then you can get credit again if you need to.

As far as California goes I am losing hope.  The same lawmakers are being returned to office again and again and they continue to spend and raise taxes and fees which will drive away more businesses and jobs.  The state and local governments are bankrupt and their unfunded pension liabilities are mounting.

Poor California will probably not fall into the ocean but it sure is falling into a deep dark financial abyss.  Maybe the whole state will be forced to declare bankruptcy……

For more info, blogs and bankruptcy information please go to my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call for a free consult about any bankruptcy or debt related issue at (619) 702-5015.  For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com    I am an San Diego bankruptcy attorney.