by Shaun Osburn
It seems that every online news story about unemployment in the Bay Area is immediately met with a dozen or so user comments to the tune of “Why don’t these people just find jobs?”
To think that this simple solution works for everyone is misinformed. Many of the folks living on San Francisco streets face multiple barriers to homes, jobs, and other mainstays of “normal” life. Severe mental health issues, physical disabilities, old age, and addictive illness often hinder a person from employment.
But what about those abled bodied folks who can work? The most recent statistics from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) shows that for every open job, there were 4.1 jobless people. That means there are thousands more unemployed workers than job openings.
“I come in here five days a week and spend hours at a time filling out applications, sending in resumes, and following up with potential employers.” Robert, a client at St. Anthony Employment Program & Technology Lab told me yesterday. “I’ve lived and worked in San Francisco for 20 years. It’s never been this hard to find a job.”
As the lines at all of St. Anthony’s programs get longer we try to keep guests sustained and hopeful during these uncertain times. With thousands of applicants for every job opening in San Francisco, in a time when unemployment continues to rise, it might be awhile before everyone who can return to work will.