Friday, October 31, 2008
Unemployment in Georgia
The green and blue areas are the areas of concern -- these are counties where the unemployment rates are 8 percent or higher. The average unemployment has gone up in the last few months -- from about 4 percent to 6.6 percent. There are counties in Georgia that have almost twice the average: Jenkins at 13.6 percent, Chattahoochee and Hancock at 13.2 percent, Ben Hill at 12.9 percent. Currently there are 11 counties that have greater than 10 percent unemployment. In face, 121 of Georgia counties are at a higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole -- only 38 of Georgia counties have an unemployment rate at or below the national average of 6.1 for September 2008. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, there are 320,723 people experiencing unemployment this month with the largest group seeing loss of employment being Education and Health Services.
During the Great Depression, unemployment rate averaged nationally about 12 percent, with a high in about 1933-34 of 24.9 percent. Thus there are counties in Georgia who are experiencing "Depression like" unemployment.
Crown Financial has some suggestions on what to do if you lose your job. Dave Ramsey's baby steps are a little late at that point -- but still not a bad idea.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Don't get stuck in the denial stage. The loss of a job is something that you will grieve -- and you will go through the stages of grief. Don't get stuck; you don't have time. You are going to be in denial and then flip into anger and depression, you will do the bargaining thing -- sometimes with God, sometimes with your spouse or old boss. But just like you have to plan a funeral for a loved one, you have to get to planning. Yes, you will process your feelings -- make space to do so by...
2. Going into starvation mode. Start taking care of the money outflow. If you have automatic withdrawals from your checking account, stop them so that you can very deliberately choose in what order you pay your bills. Stop the cable, stop the magazine subscriptions and ask for a pro-rated amount back. Consider if you really need both a land line and a cell phone. Examine your phone bill to see if there are any services you can stop and save money. Look at your credit cards and make a list of minimum payments. In fact...
3. Make a list. You need to get a handle on exactly what you owe. Some people have done this; some have not. Make a list of everything you know you have to pay: and then make a list of minimum payments. This is the absolute minimum amount of money you will need for the next month.
4. Look around the house for purchases you have made in the last couple of months and see if you can return the items. Do you really need that electric guitar? or new pair of jeans? Consider returning them.
5. Look around the house for items that you can sell easily for cash money. You are now going to start operating on a cash economy. No writing checks except to pay house payments, utilities and minimum on your credit cards. Freeze your credit cards! Use cash and spend the minimum amount.
6. Eat rice and beans (and store brands). This is not a time to eat Fillet Mignon. Your diet is going to consist of fresh veggies, store brands, manager's specials and ramen noodles. No designer shampoos -- cheap is now your middle name.
7. Examine your medicine cabinet. Talk with your doctor to see if you can substitute $4 generics for any of your prescriptions. Surf to other medicine's websites and see if the company has any coupons or assistance programs. Prescriptions can get so very expensive. You need to get this spending under control. And don't forget your COBRA!
8. After you get your personal finances examined, look at your resume. Know that you are not alone in this boat; there are literally millions of Americans in this boat with you. Support networks are springing up as a response to this crisis. Network; educate yourself; get out of the house and pound some pavement. One expense you might make is a nice interview outfit. You will need to make a good impression; be neat, professional and on time. You can do it!