12.1% Oregon Unemployment

by Katy on April 30, 2009 · 10 comments

Katy Wolk-Stanley, lucky to have a job.

The latest statistics for March just came out for Oregon, and the state’s unemployment rates have increased to 12.1%. (A few counties are even posting 18.5%!)

This is shocking to me, yet sadly is not surprising, as my family has been affected by unemployment. (My husband was laid off in January, and only now has retained full-time employment.)

Hoover TownI had been to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle a few months back, and was fascinated by an exhibit that illustrated how Seattle residents fared during the great depression of the 1930’s. When I think about the depression, Seattle doesn’t come to mind. It’s dust ravaged Oklahoma and Texas, as well as overwhelmed California and the soup lines of New York. But there’s a moving display of a Hoover-town, as well as quotes from people who lived through the great depression.

I saw a life-size cut-out figure with a sign reading, “It’s the depression, and I’m lucky to have a job,” and knew I’d found my Kodak moment. 

“Lisa!” I called to my old college pal. “Take my picture with this guy, I totally have to put this in the blog!” (This differed from her Kodak moment, which was a “Ho for the Klondike” sign, but that’s an entirely different column!)

So now when I’m changing into my scrubs in the wee hours of the morning at work, I can look for inspiration to the photo I have proudly taped to my locker.  

Because, unlike 12.1% of Oregonians, I do have a job.

Has your family experienced unemployment during the current recession? Are you feeling lucky to have a job you complained about a year ago? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jinger April 30, 2009 at 5:22 am

Yes, my 20 year old was laid off, with all other new hires, 4 weeks after starting a retail position at Anthropologie during November. She’s a college student, but depends on her work to cover her living expenses. Since then she has looked for work, but postings on craigslist retail have been few and far between. Finally, 2 weeks ago she was hired at The Limited and hopes to stay there long term until she finishes college.

I have a part time job that is quite stable as readers are always needed to score the teacher certification exams. I, too, feel very grateful to have a job these days.


Jeanine April 30, 2009 at 6:52 am

I feeel extremely lucky to have a job. The town that I live in has two main industries, shipbuilding and chemicals, and if you don’t work for one of those, employment can be sketchy at best. There are the Walmarts, and teachers and even quite a few hospitals and doctors, but those two reign supreme.

I work for a cable company. I love the company, but had serious issues with my office. After seeing the office lose 2 employees in two months for…’interesting’ reasons, I am so grateful to have a job, a good job with 70% paid health insurance, and free tv, phone, and internet as long as I work here. I do work a set schedule 8:30 to 5:30 M-F, and most holidays off. It really can’t get any better.


Marci April 30, 2009 at 9:14 am

Yes! My husband lost his job last October when the small hometown flooring store business he worked at for 37 years had to close its doors due to the recession. He’s been unemployed since then due to the decline in the home improvement world. Even Home Depo and Lowes aren’t hiring in my neck of the woods! Fortunately, like you Katy, I have a part-time job (in the legal world) which keeps our ship afloat. Thankfully all our years of frugality have paid off and we are doing just fine between unemployment, my part-time job and savings. No panic here!


Romy April 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

I’m a third year (therefore untenured) teacher and just got my “pink slip.” We are waiting for the State Senate to process the stimulus package, then the schools might rehire some people. In the meantime, the waiting is agony, and they will likely not call us until September–when we have taken on other jobs and then have to inconvenience those employers, IF we found anything.

I’ve lost a paycheck; I’ve lost a job I LOVE; and my 8-yr old daughter may have to change schools, which is sad because it’s the only school she’s ever been to. Top it all off with the negative emotions that all people feel when they are let go: shock, anger, depression, fear, grief, displacement, embarrassment. I’ve never been fired. I’ve not done anything to get fired. It’s hard to not be bitter.

And even if I am rehired, I will live under the shadow of the economy because this laying off of teachers is always hanging over our heads. We are told that we shape the future, we educate America, we care for people’s children–but if tax revenues aren’t enough, we will be the first fired.

Luckily, I get the spirit of frugality. We farm, recycle, reuse, buy second-hand, and have cut our traditional phone use to a MagicJack. (I have to have internet.) But we see so much misappropriation of funds in this country that we are angry that we should have to keep cutting our lives leaner and leaner.


Kate@AnExerciseInFrugality April 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I was laid off from a large company in January and was lucky to get 90 days paid severance. The first couple months were a roller coaster. I would get excited about a prospect only to find it dissolve into nothing. Then I got lucky and a friend gave me a lead that ultimately led to a job. It’s funny because I’m back at the same company as a contractor. The layoff wasn’t personal. Just a ‘business thing.’ And in the 90 days off I discoverd blogging and for that I’m forever grateful.


Julia April 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

We are lucky—my husband has a job. He has a frozen salary, crappy insurance that doesn’t pay for treatment I need, and long hours. But it’s a job. I hate his job, he has to travel several times a year for up to 5 days at a time, and as much as I love my son, it’s just hellish being on my own with him. (Um, the kid’s a bit high maintenance and would wear down a team of saints.) But it’s a job, it’s a job, it’s a job…And he’s not off at war, either. I’m always thankful for that, and God bless anyone who deals with that kind of sacrifice.


Pat May 1, 2009 at 11:41 am

Like Romy we also farm, recycle, reuse, buy second-hand, and have cut our spending down to the minimum. Luckily neither my husband or myself have been laid off yet but he is dangerously close and hoping to ride out this recession since he has 30 years with his firm (but only 1 person between him and the unemployment line), so it is scary. I work part-time at a school but even there will be layoffs this year – 3 teachers, 3 aides. Michigan has been hard hit and it keeps getting worse with more layoffs announced today here in my county. It is a wonder anyone still have a job, that is how bad it has gotten. But yes, I love my job and am thankful everyday that I am still employed, even seasonally. We have food, a roof over our heads, clothing on our backs and the love of our families.


Mary May 1, 2009 at 11:53 am

My husband has been downsized twice in the last year and he has been unemployed since Feb, I am lucky to have a job and we are hanging in there, we are worried about what will happen when unemployment runs out.


Amanda May 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I got laid off in Feb and have not found a new position yet. However, I’ve got savings and unemployment and I’m grateful for that. And a strong network of friends who keep my going.


David May 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm

My father and i have both lost our jobs as well, so has my cousin, my sister’s father in law and almost everybody else where i was formally employed.

My father was laid off about 4 months ago and i was just laid off from the same place about 2 weeks ago along with around 7 others, i suspect in a months time that the manufacturing plant i worked at will end up closing it’s doors, in 6 months time they have went from 70+ employees to now around 10 employees.


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