September 18th 2009 was a mixed up day for SC Unemployment. Rick Spruill of Anderson Independent Mail (Spruill, 2009) reported “Job losses continue to worry S.C. employment officials despite healthier employment rates”, yet Jenny Munro of the Greenville News said” South Carolina’s drop in jobless rate encourages experts” (Munro, 2009).The drop in unemployment rates was a mere .2% in a state where unemployment has been flirting with the 12% range since February 2009 (11.4% or higher) according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Anonymous, US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 2009).
As an unemployment recipient, I find these numbers to be very troubling because I find these numbers may not be entirely representative of the true trouble facing SC. According to About.com, the federal definition of unemployed only includes those who are currently receiving unemployment, and does not include those who may not have filed, are not eligible for some reason, or those who are new to the SC workforce, like high school or college graduates (Anonymous, US Economy: Unemployment, 2009). The fact that there is, according to Greenville’s Office of Management and Budget, a population of over 58,000 people and almost 20% of which may be unemployed and competing for jobs I am searching for intimidates me just a little (Anonymous, Office of Management and Budget, 2009).
Of more concern are the other numbers associated with unemployment. Loss of a job often means loss of health insurance. This can impact the health of an entire family, especially if prescriptions become priced out of means. Tony Scott, All State Insurance Agent, says that home and auto insurance is many times the first bill to be let go or cancelled in hard financial times, sometimes to the regret of the policy holder (Scott, 2009). Should someone lose a vehicle, the next is usually loss of residence, which then swells the ranks of the homeless.The homeless are usually accepting of any type of welfare benefits they are entitled to and aware of, but an income they do not have will not contribute to city or state revenue which in turn is damaging to the state budget.
Education is often the first hit program when budget cuts are made, as evidenced by the four percent cut recently announced by the South Carolina Board of Education.Education cuts hurt our children, who are already suffering under the 48th worst educational system in the United States of America according to the Department of Education rankings of public schools. A poor education makes for a poor workforce, which in turn fails to draw newer industries and may even lose the current industries to more capable regions. This would most likely cause further job loss which will continue to push unemployment up and a starving social services sector will no longer be able to comfort it’s people as the cycle spirals beyond the budget and manpower it is allotted. As I said, I find the SC unemployment rate to be quite unsettling, and I can only hope that there is a light somewhere at the end of this tunnel made of double digit unemployment statistics. As a matter of fact, prior to writing this, I had not truly given thought to how intertwined all of these systems are.
From a systems theory point of view, any unhealthy portion of this system can have a drastic effect on the whole. After this, I can see that SC has many unhealthy parts of the whole right now, and it is truly in danger of failure and stagnation, in my opinion. As I searched for hope in my mind for the future of myself and South Carolina, I was recalled to the unemployment statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It reminded me that SC has only been in double digit unemployment for less than a year, and according to those same statistics, SC had been under 7.5% most of this century (Anonymous, US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 2009). That is very encouraging news to me, since I believe what we have done once we can do again.
Anonymous. (2009, September). Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from Greenville, SC USA: www.greenvillesc.gov/omb/default.aspx
Anonymous. (2009, September). US Bureau Of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from www.bls.gov
Anonymous. (2009, September 29). US Economy: Unemployment.
Munro, J. (2009, September 18). South Carolina’s drop in jobless rates encourage experts. Greenville News .
Scott, T. (2009, September 29). Personal Communication. (M. Gittner, Interviewer)
Spruill, R. (2009, September 18). Job losses continue to worry S.C. employment officials despite healthier employment rates. Anderson Independent Mail .