The economy boomed at the end of 2009, growing at the fastest rate in more than six years. Now if only it could keep it up. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the second straight quarter of growth. But analysts warn it’s unsustainable.
Jeannine Aversa/Christopher S. Rugaber
, January 29, 2010
Bemidji is the Minnesota city with the third-highest peak in unemployment, at more than 17 percent. Getting a read on Bemidji’s economy depends on where you look these days. You can find both ongoing struggle and, believe it or not, boom times. It’s a tale of two economies.
Minnesota’s taconite mining industry is starting to emerge from a downturn that closed every one of the mines on the Iron Range. But the rebound is slow to reach the towns of Hibbing and Keewatin, where taconite plants remain on extended shutdown. At a food shelf just north of the downtown in Hibbing, a small crew of volunteers stuffed paper bags with groceries and baked goods.
About 175,000 people in Minnesota remain on unemployment benefits, even after Minnesota’s employers added 10,300 jobs last month. The added jobs helped improve the unemployment rate, but not by much. The rate inched down to 8.1 percent in July, compared to June’s 8.4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate last month was 9.4 percent.
Pfizer Inc. is unveiling a new program today that will let people who have lost their jobs and health insurance keep taking some widely prescribed Pfizer medications — including Lipitor and Viagra — for free for up to a year.
Between job searches, while out in his community garden, Charles Burditt muses on the bumper crop of unemployed men.
About 4.4 million of them were employed full time in March 2008 but not in March 2009, a trimming that has hit American male breadwinners far harder than their female counterparts.
One of the fundamentals tenets of financial planning is you should build up enough of a cushion to withstand an unexpected financial emergency.
But when you're already struggling to make ends meet, having another unexpected financial SOS pop up is the last thing you need.
With unemployment soaring, identity thieves are increasingly preying on unsuspecting job seekers by stealing personal information and trying to cash in on it.
The scams run the gamut from fake help-wanted ads and job-search services to bogus resume-posting Web sites, part of a new arsenal of weapons targeting millions of recently unemployed people.
The end came abruptly for Sterling Casino cruise-ship employees.
One evening last July they were steaming out to sea with 800 gamblers on board, and the next morning their jobs were gone. Sterling had ceased operations at Port Canaveral and given its workers no notice.
"They basically padlocked the gate," said Hywel Jones, a floor supervisor with Sterling about two years. "They didn't tell us a thing."
Larry Petralia didn't sugarcoat it. "You," he advised Pamela Crader, "have a formatting problem."
Crader took the criticism in stride. In terms of negativity, the appraisal of her resume was hardly the worst thing she's heard recently. That would be the day the college business instructor learned she was losing her job.
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