How The Jobs Debate Looks To Those Without Work12:23


Politicians are talking jobs this week. President Obama announces a major plan tomorrow and Republican presidential hopefuls are touting their plans to bring down unemployment.

Meanwhile, 14 million Americans continue to look for work. 59-year-old former inventory worker, Ken, who didn't want to use his last name, was laid off in May from his job in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Speaking to Here & Now's Robin Young, he said that he recently applied for a job at a convenience store, a position he would "never" have considered before the down economy.

Ken's job loss is also affecting his 17-year-old daughter, who wants to go to college. Ken says now she'll have to pay for that on her own.

"I barter for my living as a pet sitter. That means I'm moving about every three days or so."

Suzanne Mason, unemployed health care worker

"To think of her being in college and you're gonna want to send her 20 bucks or 40 bucks or help her with books and all of that money, you've got to put that money straight into bills," he said.

Suzanne Mason of Flagstaff, Arizona lost her health care job as a cardiac ultrasound technician in 2009. She has since lost her apartment, and now relies on pet sitting in exchange for a place to sleep.

"I barter for my living as a pet sitter," she said. "That means I'm moving about every three days or so. People who need me, for instance when they go on vacation, I stay in their house for three days and I take care of their pet... their dog," she said.

Richard Turner of New York City worked in hardware stores for 14 years and was laid off a year and a half ago.  He relies on food stamps and help from his family to support himself and his 9-year-old daughter.

Turner says he tries to reassure his daughter that things will be alright, telling her "we're going to make it, don't worry about it. It might be less than what we had, but we'll get there."


  • Ken, former inventory control employee in Levittown, Pennsylvania
  • Suzanne Mason, unemployed health care worker in Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Richard Turner, out-of-work hardware store worker

This segment aired on September 7, 2011.

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