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Playlist: Jobs and Unemployment

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/62518311@N00/74855552/">Daquella Manera</a>
Image by: Daquella Manera 

How has the worst recession since the 1930s affected the employment market and people's relationship to work?

Plus, moving stories about different types of workers and their struggles and strategies for getting along.

Hard Time on the Unemployment Line

From Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs | 05:53

A look at the challenges faced by out-of-work African American male ex-offenders.

Hardtimeimage_small African American males have a hard time getting jobs. The group's unemployment rate is about twice the national figure. But African American male ex-offenders must jump numerous hurdles: racism, the stigma of a criminal past, and poor social and job skills.
Independent producer Afi Scruggs explores the successes and failures of men who are out of prison, and trying to find work..

A New (Old) Kind of Work

From Zak Rosen | 07:21

Rust belt cities like Detroit, Michigan are struggling. The tax base has been drying up for decades. Vacant homes litter once strong, middle-class neighborhoods. Young people are dropping out of school at astounding rates. In many ways the system is broken. But despite Detroit’s shortcomings, or maybe because of them, residents are bucking conventions and going about fixing the city without help from the powers that be. Independent producer Zak Rosen recently met an ornamental metal worker who is doing just that.

Neilbock_metal_worker_fb_medium_small Rust belt cities like Detroit, Michigan are struggling. The tax base has been drying up for decades. Vacant homes litter once strong, middle-class neighborhoods. Young people are dropping out of school at astounding rates. In many ways the system is broken. But despite Detroit’s shortcomings, or maybe because of them, residents are bucking conventions and going about fixing the city without help from the powers that be. Independent producer Zak Rosen recently met an ornamental metal worker who is doing just that.

Working the Night Shift

From WFUV | 59:02

WFUV Fordham catches up with local night shift workers to get their perspective on life after dark, balancing family obligations, and the big question -- when do they sleep? This sound-rich hour introduces listeners to a colorful cast of night-shift workers, from police officers to firefighters to a singing sanitation worker.

Default-piece-image-1 On this Labor Day, WFUV news catches up with local night shift workers to get their perspective on life after dark, balancing family obligations and the big question -- when do they sleep? This sound-rich hour introduces listeners to a colorful cast of night shift workers, from police officers to firefighters to a singing sanitation worker. The show also features interviews with a sociologist concerned that the needs of night shift workers are not being appropriately addressed and a sleep expert.

That Job Sucked Anyway

From Megan Hall | 34:06

Even in this horrible economy, some jobs no one can remember with fondness. Here are stories about such positions...

Job1_small On July 23rd, Megan Hall, Sue Ellen Kroll and Tom Van Buskirk presented a live mix of interview snippets with musical interludes.  What followed was an audio odyssey of the state with the second highest unemployment rate in the country.

The Jobs Plan

From Hearing Voices | Part of the The Plan series | 29:05

Eclectic mix of pieces related to jobs, including the sound of postal workers canceling stamps, a first-person account of a worldwide job hunt ("I had like 800 jobs, I never felt shame"), and a spoken job-interview poem. Extremely entertaining.

0609planjobs_small This week it's all about the J-O-B... PLAYLIST: ARTIST | AUDIO | ALBUM (*=PRX piece) 1. Postal Workers- University Of Ghana | Canceling Stamps | Worlds Of Music 2. Crossing The BLVD | 800 Jobs | Crossing The BLVD 3. Meryn Cadell | Job Application | Angel Food for Thought 4. Rebecca Flowers | Office Yoga | HearingVoices.com 5. The Books | Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again | Thought For Food 6. Jeff Rice | Golfball Diver | HearingVoices.com 7. Radio Diaries | Pasquale Spensieri, Grinder* | New York Works 8. Steve Fisk | Government Figures | Over And Thru The Night 9. David Greenberger | Fortunate Decision* | The Duplex Planet 10. John Handy | Hard Work | Canival

"Diamond" Jimmy Roy

From Long Haul Productions | Part of the American Worker Series series | 19:00

First broadcast on "This American Life" in 1999, but especially relevant in today's economic climate. Once, Jimmy Roy owned half the businesses in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel town just outside Pittsburgh. Braddock's decline paralleled Jimmy's. But he managed to remain optimistic to the end, promoting positive thinking and lamenting negativity.

Jimmyringssmilenoborder_small Once Jimmy Roy owned half the businesses in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a steel town just outside Pittsburgh. Braddock's decline paralleled Jimmy's; he now sells jewelry out of a family restaurant. But he managed to remain optimistic, and argued he held the secret to being rich and happy. First broadcast on This American Life in 1999.

Living on the Beach in Santa Barbara

From World Vision Report | 10:33

With the economy in crisis, American families once considered middle income are now living on the edge. Some have lost their homes. And some of those without homes now find themselves waking up each morning in an unlikely place. Tena Rubio spent the day with one such family in Santa Barbara, California.

Wv_podcast_icon_sm_small If you air this piece, please include a back announce saying "This piece originally aired on the World Vision Report." or "This piece came to us from the World Vision Report."

Bible Salesman

From Long Haul Productions | Part of the American Worker Series series | 10:14

Former door-to-door Bible salesman Jim "The Rabbit" Baker, featured in the classic 1969 Maysles Brothers documentary "Salesman," explains the secrets of his now defunct occupation. First broadcast on Weekend Edition Sunday in 2000.

Jimtherabbittest_small It’s an occupation on the verge of extinction -- door-to-door salesperson: the Fuller Brush man, the Avon lady, the encyclopedia hawker. Producer Dan Collison went in search of the last of the dying breed -- in this case a door-to-door bible salesman. He found Jim Baker, one of the characters in the now-legendary 1969 documentary “Salesman” produced by David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin. This beautifully-produced story details this lost "art." Broadcast on Weekend Edition Sunday in 2000.

On The Line: Union Actors In New York

From Eevin Hartsough | 09:46

New York actors face ridiculous odds trying to get work, but persevere nonetheless. Audition horror stories, the will to go, and more...

Default-piece-image-1 This piece uses voices of New York actors, casting directors, and the head of auditions at Actors Equity to tell the story of Equity Principle Auditions. This is the story of people doing irrational things in pursuit of their passion. Host Intro: Most mornings, scattered around Midtown Manhattan, just as the coffee-and-donut peddlers in their compact silver carts are setting up shop on various street corners and before Times Square has become clogged with trucks, taxis, and tourists, lines of people are forming. At first glance, they might be the homeless waiting for a soup kitchen to open or early-risers in line for the DMV or a travel visa. But they’re not. They’re actors. What they have in common is an Actors Equity card – they belong to the union of actors, directors and stage managers who work in the theater – and they’re waiting in line to audition. With just under twenty thousand members in and around New York City, the odds that they’ll get work are against them. Yet rain or shine, hot or cold, there they are. Eevin Hartsough explores why.

The Future of Farming in Vermont -- with slideshow!

From Jenny Attiyeh | 09:09

About 40 years ago, farms were thick on the ground in Andover, a rural town in southern Vermont. Today, 75-year-old Lydia Ratcliff’s Lovejoy Brook Farm is the last working farm still in operation. But can it survive much longer?

Vermontfarm-thumbnail_small About 40 years ago, farms were thick on the ground in Andover, a rural town in southern Vermont. Today, 75-year-old Lydia Ratcliff’s Lovejoy Brook Farm is the last working farm still in operation. But can it survive much longer?
ThoughtCast's Jenny Attiyeh grew up visiting Lydia each summer, listening to her tales, eating fresh corn and carrots from her garden, and watching the animals give birth, and grow old.  On a recent visit to see Lydia, Jenny brought along her microphone …
NOTE:
this audio story is complemented by a 4 minute slideshow of Lydia Ratcliff's farm, with all new material. It can be accessed on ThoughtCast, here:  http://bit.ly/14LiZm  
Feel free to embed it in your website!

Healthy Jobs for Low-income Women

From Making Contact | 07:32

A business model that creates worker-owned green businesses and healthy jobs for low-income women.

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Many women are often the primary breadwinners of a family. It’s vital that they have a place in this new green economy.  One Bay Area non-profit shows how a business can be both eco-friendly and empower the lives many immigrant women.  And this business is no newcomer.  They’ve been doing it for the past 15-years.

Ex-convicts struggle to enter bleak job market

From Patrick De Oliveira | 05:48

Unemployment--one of the main contributing factors to recidivism--is a growing problem for ex-convicts. The recession has hit them hard, as their job applications are often placed at the bottom of an ever-growing pile. A look at the legal barriers and discrimination faced by this less-than-welcome population.

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Michael Miller’s union offered him a job as soon as he started his job search on Feb. 1. But he wasn’t able to accept the offer. Miller had just been released from prison and the job was farther than what he was allowed to go.

Months later, Miller continues the search for employment. People with criminal records have always had difficulty securing jobs; having to face the legal barriers and the discrimination associated with a criminal record. The economic recession has made matters even worse. Ex-convicts are often being placed at the bottom of the ever-growing pile of job applications.

According to Roberta Meyers-Peeples, executive director of the National Helping Individuals With Criminal Records Renter Through Employment Network or more commonly known as National H.I.R.E, unemployment is one of the main contributing factors to recidivism, which means that ex-convicts are now facing increasing challenges in their reentry into society.

"Hard Times Harder In the Motor City" by S. Hulett

From Michigan Radio Economy Special | 04:11

A look the epicenter of the recession, and how this downturn compares with previous ones.

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This piece takes a look at the depth of the economic downturn in Detroit, with scenes including desperation and chaos at an event where housing & utility assistance was being made available; the bleak outlook for out-of-work Detroiters; and the strain the recession - long and deep in the Motor City - has put on the social safety net. The piece also includes some perspective from an economist, who compares what Michigan and the nation are going through now with previous downturns. Produced for the "Finding Our Bootstraps" project.

This I Believe - Kenneth Feinberg

From This I Believe | Part of the This I Believe series | 04:00

As the Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Feinberg had to allocate money based on the profession of those who died in the attack. "The law required that I give more money to the stockbroker, the bond trader and the banker, than to the waiter, the policeman, the fireman and the soldier at the Pentagon," Feinberg says. Now, he wants the law to treat all victims as equally valued, regardless of job.

Tiblogosmall_small HOST: Today's This I Believe essay comes from Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney specializing in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is best known for his role as Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Here's Kenneth Feinberg with his essay for This I Believe. FEINBERG: What is an individual life worth? Do our lives have equal value? Struggling with these questions led me to my belief. After September 11, I confronted the challenge of placing a value on human life by calculating different amounts of compensation for each and every victim. The law required that I give more money to the stockbroker, the bond trader and the banker, than to the waiter, the policeman, the fireman and the soldier at the Pentagon. This is what happens every day in courtrooms throughout our nation. Our system of justice has always been based upon this idea-that compensation for death should be directly related to the financial circumstances of each victim. But as I met with the 9/11 families and wrestled with issues surrounding the valuation of lives lost, I began to question this basic premise of our legal system. Trained in the law, I had always accepted that no two lives were worth the same in financial terms. But now I found the law in conflict with my growing belief in the equality of all life. "Mr. Feinberg, my husband was a fireman and died a hero at the World Trade Center. Why are you giving me less money than the banker who represented Enron? Why are you demeaning the memory of my husband?" My response was defensive and unconvincing. At first I gave the standard legal argument-that I was not evaluating the intrinsic moral worth of any individual. I was basing my decision on the law, just as juries did every day. But this explanation fell on deaf ears. Grieving families couldn't hear it. And I didn't believe it myself. I was engaged in a personal struggle. I felt it would make more sense for Congress to provide the same amount of public compensation to each and every victim-to declare, in effect, that all lives are equal. But in this case, the law prevailed. Last year, however, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings and the deaths of 32 victims, I was again asked to design and administer a compensation system, this one privately funded. And I realized that Feinberg the citizen should trump Feinberg the lawyer. My legal training would no longer stand in the way. This time all victims-students and faculty alike-would receive the same compensation. In the case of September 11, if there is a next time, and Congress again decides to award public compensation, I hope the law will declare that all life should be treated the same. Courtrooms, judges, lawyers and juries are not the answer when it comes to public compensation. I have resolved my personal conflict and have learned a valuable lesson at the same time. I believe that public compensation should avoid financial distinctions which only fuel the hurt and grief of the survivors. I believe all lives should be treated the same.

Haitian immigrants and the South Florida Economy

From NPR Economic Training Project | 03:30

With around 80,000 Haitians expected to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that will allow them to legally work and live in South Florida, what impact will that have on the local economy, where jobless rates are already at their highest in decades?

Default-piece-image-0 Thousands of Haitian-Americans in South Florida are taking advantage of the new temporary program that will give them legal status to work and live here. Some Haitians say they would love to work in the construction industry - but the jobs aren't there for even for American workers. One industry group is hoping to create a training program for Haitians who want it, so they can take those skills back to Haiti to help the country rebuild.