As we move into the holidays, some families may be trying to keep their lives together after one or more primary breadwinners have lost their jobs. The national unemployment rate in September 2002 was 5.6 percent, but threats of additional layoffs keep families on edge. Almost 10 million people are trying to find jobs. Unfortunately, Colorado was ranked 50 out of 50 for job growth from July 2001 to July 2002.
Job losses are leading to a significant rise in home foreclosures. Data through September 2002 indicated a 55 percent rise in foreclosures. Since the wealth of many Americans is mainly in their homes, the retirement security of older people may be threatened. As a result, individuals who are between 55 and 64 years old are staying in the labor force and many have delayed retirement. In some cases, they are pushing back retirement by five to seven additional years.
Not only is unemployment high, many workers took new jobs far below their previous level, which reduced income needed to pay bills and debts. Across the country, personal bankruptcies from April through June 2002 were up 5.9 percent over the previous three months. Bankruptcy filings are at an all time high-1.47 million.
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension has established an integrated Web site to help people looking for work at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/emptrans/index.html. Information is organized into five categories: Featured Issues, Information Resources, Educational Programs and Resources, Internet Resources and Know Your Labor Market.
Job seekers can use the Internet Resources category to apply for unemployment insurance, learn about food stamps and other food programs and to link directly to information about health insurance. They can look online for jobs in Colorado and throughout the country and they can get help with job-search techniques.
Employees and employers who are considering relocation will find the report "Cost of Living Differences in Colorado" useful. It is located in the Know Your Labor Market category and compares the cost of living of all but six counties in Colorado.
A series of information sheets are available in the Information Resources section that are specifically designed to answer questions and issues such as "Keeping Up With Bills During a Job Transition," "Tips for a Successful Interview" and "Life Between Jobs is Challenging."
Each month, a new feature addresses issues that challenge those who are unemployed. The September and October features coping strategies during employment transition.