Unemployed And Anxiously Employed Share Perspectives on Jobs Outlook

By Jeff Neumeyer - 21Alive
By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:15 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- Giving voice to those who feel that they have no voice.

Results from surveys of Northeast Indiana residents classified as “unemployed and anxiously employed" were to be discussed at an event Monday evening at Fort Wayne’s downtown library.

It’s part of a project that has been going on for several years.

Since 2009, local labor officials have been seeking out opinions of people from this area who are struggling to make ends meet.

The Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council and AFL-CIO leaders are behind the effort to find out how marginalized members of the job force are dealing with the tough economy since the recent recession hit.

More than 550 people, approached at places like the annual Labor Day picnic or Community Harvest Food Bank, filled out questionnaires this year.

Among other things, they were asked what the long-term impacts would be on their personal household, and surveyors also asked, who cares the most about people like you in this economy.

" The answer I got most was, no one. We're the lost numbers, we're told we're too old for some jobs, too young for others," said Clarence Benton, who conducted some of the surveys.

Jane Gresham, another person who interviewed people, read an excerpt from one of the surveys.

" I may lose my home, live in a shelter, and may lose my daughter," she said.

" When we asked them about their household economy, more of them state that it is in a decline," said Gayle Goodrich of the AFL-CIO, who helped craft the surveys.

77 percent of those who filled out questionnaires said they are either experiencing a downturn or no change in their personal situation.

The labor officials concede these are not scientific surveys, but they are an attempt to hear what a good number of people from our area are dealing with on a regular basis.

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