Many Americans who are out of luck in so far as jobless benefits go are hustling to ensure that they can make ends meet. The Washington Post reports that “about a third of the people cut off from long-term unemployment benefits will find help from Social Security or other government programs.” So what about the others who are left to go it alone? They’re piecing together a patchwork existence that they’d probably never imagined prior to losing their jobs and accompanying unemployment benefits.
One Maryland woman interviewed by the Post, Wessita McKinley, an Air Force veteran, worked as a private contractor earning a six figure salary prior to the recession. After working a few low paying jobs, McKinley began piecing together an income:
Now that her unemployment benefits are gone, McKinley relies on what she calls “legal hustling” to pay her bills and keep her daughter in college: helping friends’ children fill out financial aid forms, driving friends on errands, entering data for small businesses — all for a fee.
“There’s no shame in my game,” McKinley said. “If you’re not creative in this economy, you’re going to be squashed.”
With recent cuts to food stamps and the ending of long term unemployment benefits, unemployed workers who haven’t recovered since the beginning of the Great Recession are still reeling, with little to grab hold of in this perfect economic storm.
The number of Americans not in the labor force has exploded to an all time high of 91.8 million. In December the civilian labor force dropped from 155.3 million to 154.9 million, a 35 year low.