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On Labor Day, let’s remember the unemployed and underemployed

As we headed into the Labor Day weekend, The New York Times published a story about the latest unemployment figures initially titled “U.S. Lost Jobs in August, but Fewer Than Expected.”

Chart graphicFriday’s headline seemingly tried to soften the blow of a harsh truth. More people are still losing their jobs, but, hey, it’s not as much as we expected.

If you drill further down into the story you will find the number of unemployed people in the country jumped from 14.59 million in July to 14.86 million in August. By the end of the story, you learn about the people willing to take any job, even if it means taking a pay cut, just as long as they have a job.

That’s the underemployed. And their numbers have “reached historic highs” in Connecticut, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

The underemployed includes people who saw their full-time hours reduced to part-time because of the flagging economy, just like Henry’s parents. Read about the 11-year-old boy’s story, titled “Going Beyond the Employment Data,” on our website,

Henry’s family isn’t alone.

Connecticut—with its long-term unemployment rate as the fourth highest in the country—is seeing its underemployment rate reach 14 percent, “a historic high for the state,” the Hartford Business Journal said in its story.

And it’s not just happening in Connecticut, it’s happening all over. Check out The New York Times story about “New Job Means Lower Wages for Many.”

More and more of the underemployed are coming to our partner soup kitchens and food pantries seeking help for the first time. And they are walking through the doors “shell-shocked” and unaware of “how to navigate the waters of their current situation,” according to Cheryl Bedore, president of Master’s Manna of Wallingford.

Many of them don’t know what social service resources are available to help them. But they find us because they used to be on the giving end.

They never once thought for a second that they would be on the receiving end.

Posted by Gladys Alcedo, Communications Coordinator of Connecticut Food Bank

This article was posted in Unemployment.

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