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Forecasting benefit cut's fallout

For long-term unemployed, end to assistance spells more hardship

Entry-level and temp-to-hire jobs ó once a fallback in times of high unemployment ó are also hard to find for the long-term unemployed in the current economy, according to the Southbridge Interfaith Hospitality Network. (click for larger version)
December 02, 2010
With extended unemployment benefits already running out for roughly two million Americans as of Wednesday, Dec. 1, the increasing jobless situation is being keenly felt locally.

"A lot of people that at one point had great jobs could afford nice homes that were reasonable for two income families," said Laura Kaplan of the Southbridge Interfaith Hospitality Network (SIHN,) a Southbridge organization that aids needy families year round. "Once one income was cut, that's it for a lot of these families. For people who are just getting by, something as simple as a car breaking down could mean the end of things."

Kaplan explained that temporary employment agencies were once a great source of jobs, as many of them were "temp-to-hire." The recently unemployed are applying for them in large numbers, but most of the temp jobs are now gone, let alone temp positions that could lead to full-time employment.

"Unfortunately, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better," said Kaplan. "Established jobs are going to be there, but jobs at the entry level are going to take a long time to see an improvement and that's what a lot of these people are going for. A lot of these people have great skills, but can't get full-time jobs using them."

Many local bank officials agree that this decision will adversely affect unemployed residents, creating an increase in both delinquent bank accounts and home foreclosures.

"People are already struggling, and cutting off such an important lifeline will only make the problem worse," said Philip Pettinelli, the President and CEO of Southbridge Savings Bank.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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