Thursday, February 12, 2009

The average net worth of American households plunged 22.7%

Newly Unemployed Man

Today has been a difficult day for me. No, it’s not even about the recession. I can’t share the problem, except to say that one of my students is facing a great challenge and I wish I had been able to help her more. Sometimes, some people are so adept at hiding problems you have no clue that there is something wrong. All the signs that they train you to look for may not even be apparent, even in retrospect. I felt as though a heavy weight was sitting on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. Getting to a better place is going to be a long road and I hope she knows that I am always in her corner.

My day had been going pretty well. The kids were so well behaved and they liked the lemonade game that we’re playing in Entrepreneurship. Then I received the email. Since then I feel a bit lost and confused. Why didn’t I see some sign? Why didn’t I know?

Well, now back to the not so cheery economy. The Federal Reserve says the recession has cut many Americans' net worth by about 20 percent as the value of homes, stock portfolios and businesses plummet.

The Fed says the average net worth of American households plunged 22.7 percent since the recession began in December 2007 through October, when the report was prepared. The median net worth, or the midpoint between the wealthiest and poorest, fell 17.8 percent. Yesterday Darryl told me that a new study shows that men are losing jobs at a disproportionately higher rate than women. Honestly, when I was growing up I believed a man would marry me, we would have babies and I would stay home with them. This never really happened. I imagined that my husband would make more than me and I would be part of a traditional family. Instead it seems that I have been the breadwinner for a great deal of my life. Darryl says I live too much in the past but I guess living in the present always makes me feel like the life I was told awaited me was all just another sham.

With no end in sight to what some economists say will be the longest recession since the Second World War; some analysts say women could soon outnumber men in the workplace. A full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work.

Women may be safer in their jobs, but tend to find it harder to support a family. For one thing, they work fewer overall hours than men. Women are much more likely to be in part-time jobs without health insurance or unemployment insurance. Even in full-time jobs, women earn 80 cents for each dollar of their male counterparts’ income, according to the government data.

Then again I'm a teacher and the cut backs are really beginning to affect us. For one, next year Rome City Schools will stop supplementing our state insurance. Oh sure it's only $18 a month and to put it in prespective I DO have a JOB. Then again it all adds up doesn't it? In some of the county schools they are beginning lay offs. I spoke to someone at the Vocational meeting tonight and i was told that in Bartow County, they will be scheduled to work 190 days but only get paid for 185. At the local technical college they've had a couple of furlough days where you don't come in and you don't get paid. So it's not as if we are totally immune from all this.

Darryl heard from a company that wants to talk to him about his resume. Keep your fingers crossed and I will let you know more about it later.

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