I'm on vacation in Michigan and was going to take a few days off from blogging. However, I saw an article in the Detroit Free Press that forced me to the keyboard. Of Americans laid off between Jan. 2009 and Dec. 2011, 56% have found jobs. The articles says "only," which is misleading, given current hiring trends. It takes longer to find a job.
Here's the real problem - pay. One third of people who found a new job are making 20% less than before. The only way around this problem is to keep looking for a job that will pay a better wage. Most companies aren't giving raises or only offering minimal raises. The article tells the story of an IT professional who was making $80,000 who now makes $9.15 providing tech support. The media loves this kind of story. It's frightening. Don't listen to it. If the young man cited in the article had the experience and skills to be hired for a job that pays $80,000, there's no reason he is locked in a near minimum wage job. He has to keep looking for work and remember to sell the qualities that brought him the better wage. It's not easy. But it's the way things are going to be for a while. No one is safe -- be ready to move. Keep looking for something better.