October Stay Thirsty column: Change is not enough


Since the start of 2010, filmmaker Sam Newman and I have been creating Over 50 and Out of Work, a multimedia documentary project that focuses on unemployment among older Americans. But the problems responsible for record levels of joblessness and hardship for workers who are 50-plus are not confined to a single generation. The American economy has changed. People of all ages are struggling to find jobs. Our government, operating in a polarized political environment, has been unable to help the economy grow and create jobs for Millennials, Generation Xers or boomers.

The constant drumbeat of dismal economic news is depressing. The unemployment rate is stuck above 9 percent. Jobless claims are up. The economy is not adding enough new jobs. The number of weeks that people are unemployed continues to increase. (The average length of time that older Americans are out of work has been climbing since June of 2008 and has been stuck at over one year since last March.) Across the country, foreclosures of homes are up and more people are sliding into poverty.

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