11:18 a.m. Only one man is shoveling the paperwork as the unemployment office line keeps growing. About 30 are ahead of me. Another guy comes over to help out. “New claims,” he hollers. A group hustle up to him. One, an elderly Chinese man, seems confused. The second guy shakes his head and shoos him away. “We’re overwhelmed and understaffed,” he says. “The extension has us swamped.” The elderly man wanders among the desks and someone finally helps him.
At my turn, the guy behind the counter says I’m in the system but it’s backed up. Too many people. Oh well. No check this week.
Is this what’s happening in places where the numbers of jobless are high? Who are these people in line, waiting to sign up for more benefits? Why couldn’t they find a job before? And why do so many seem not to qualify? How many exactly?
Here’s one story that touches on this, but doesn’t take us there.
Down and out in Southwest Florida: Unemployment rates make a dramatic jump to historic highs
By Daily News staff and Associated Press reports
Originally published 10:27 a.m., August 15, 2008
Updated 10:07 p.m., August 15, 2008
NAPLES — Out of work?
You’re not alone.
In July, jobless rates spiked again in Southwest Florida.
In Collier County, the unemployment rate jumped to 7.7 percent, up from 6.5 percent a month earlier and 5.3 percent a year ago, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.
In Lee County, it’s more bleak. The unemployment rate climbed to 8.4 percent last month, up from 7.6 percent in June and 5.1 percent a year ago.
Southwest Florida has been hit particularly hard because so many of its jobs were in construction, which has slowed to a crawl with a housing slump.
The state lost 79,200 construction jobs over the year.
“A lot of the retail stores have cut back hours and cut back on staff. Construction is still winding down more and more. We are definitely having a slowdown,” said Naples investment manager and financial advisor Robert Matheson.
Florida’s unemployment rate hit a 13-year high of 6.1 percent in July, up from 5.5 percent a month earlier and 4.1 percent a year ago. It was higher than the national rate of 5.7 percent.
Hendry County posted the highest unemployment rate in
from the LA Times