After one year and twenty days of unemployment, and hundreds of job applications that disappear into what seems like a giant black hole, yesterday I got my first actual job interview scheduled. Whether or not I get this job, it is encouraging to at least be noticed by a potential employer, and to think that maybe in the long run persistence will pay off.
There is certainly reason enough out there for long-term unemployed Americans such as me not to be encouraged. The White House budget office is now projecting the unemployment rate to remain at or above 9 percent through the next year. Of course, the official unemployment rate is just the tip of the iceberg, as it does not account for an ever-increasing number of workers who become so discouraged that they simply stop looking for work and drop out of the labor force. Next week President Obama will introduce his program for jobs creation. He will have the opportunity to propose bold steps to relieve this crisis, to get Americans back to work, earning paychecks and stimulating the economy. Or he could go his usual route, play it safe and propose modest steps in hopes of reaching a compromise with the Republicans. I hope he will go with the first option, but I'm not holding my breath.