Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sex and Unemployment: Boom or Bust

The current recession/depression/downturn/credit crunch/general unpleasantness is churning out new unemployed Americans like a Chinese box factory.

While official government figures peg the number at somewhere over 12 million, in truth, the total number of job seekers, jobless for a good while, marginally attached, discouraged and suicidal non-workers is probably more like 20 million.

So many people. So much time on their hands. Are they all out having sex, all the time? Or is their economic hardship softening their desire?

I don't have time to find two experts with sharply different opinions about this. So, as a public service - and because this is, after all, a blog - I'm here to argue from both sides of the bed.

Of course people are having more sex.
Even those Blackberried, Mac-toting Starbuckians occasionally look up from their Tazo® and notice other beings of their ilk. An opening line like, "I actually got a form letter response to a resume today," may lead to, if not romance, then at least an early afternoon of passion.

No one unemployed is having sex.
Sigmund Freud, the patron saint of Westsiders from coast to coast, noted that "work is central to one's existence." Actually I think he said, "to man's existence." And what woman, or man, wants to sleep with a man who has no status. Excuse me, Ms. or Mr., but do you really want to horizontal tango with a guy whose boss dumped him? And seems to be waiting for you to pick up the check. And thinks those are shoes?

I'm sorry, but you're just wrong.

Imagine, in your above example, that the pursued partner is also unemployed. Now the two have a shared experience. So much to talk about. This is exactly the sort of thing that leads to hanky-panky. Consider for instance, the job fair. As my friend John Henion, at unemploymentality.com has pointed out, this is the greatest meet market ever. You can walk in, introduce yourself to a dozen attractive people, and offer to exchange resumes. "You never know, I might hear about something." Boom. You walk out with little mini-histories of your possible mates, and detailed contacts for each. You can even check their references!

OK, maybe occasionally unemployed people have sex, but...
I have a suspicion people who don't have jobs don't bathe that often. Or shave. They probably don't wash their clothes that much, either. Or floss.

Not true!
Frankly, I find this sort of unemployment-racism to be truly sad. In fact, the unemployed are no less scrubbed and brushed then the rest of us. And they're probably more fit. The gyms are filled with the occupation-uninstalled. They hone their bodies, co-mingling in tight places, wearing skimpy clothes. I think even you can fill in the blanks from there.

I think we should make it illegal to have sex while collecting unemployment benefits.
Why should my tax dollars fund your debauchery? Even if you are having sex within a committed relationship, I don't want you having more fun than me, on my dime.

I don't know what to say.
I have to go now. Job fair.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring 09 Collection

Spring 09 Collection: nicejob from steve proffitt on Vimeo.

Try clicking on the little four-arrow icon on the right to view full-screen.

Sorry, Jack

So much for the conventional wisdom that liquor sales are recession proof. The company that owns two classic potent potables, Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, says today it's cutting jobs, slashing merit pay and offering buyouts.

Louisville-based distiller Brown-Forman says it's cutting about 250 jobs in it's worldwide operations. That's about six percent of its workforce.

According to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, "all employees affected by the reduction in force will be offered severance pay, career counseling assistance, and other benefits."

Other benefits? A case or two of whiskey would be a nice parting gift.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Louisiana: Only a whiff of recession, but lots of bad taste

I spent the weekend in Lafayette, Louisiana. The jobless rate there is among the lowest in the nation, at just under 4%. While the oil business is not booming like it was a couple of years ago, there are few signs of recession. Sure, the housing market is a little tight. But shoppers are out buying and the restaurants are packed.

There's a big development called River Ranch on one side of town. It features some fairly nice urban design - sort of a fake New Orleans, with residential, retail and office space nicely mixed. But then begins a sort of sprawl, and a host of truly dreadful mansions that one local resident called, "I just sold my company!" houses. One was so indescribably tasteless - it featured larger than life-size Greecian statues at the entry way - that an observer claimed to suffer from PTSD after seeing it.

What's more ironic is that across the river there is a development that appears to have been build in the 1950's and 60's, where the now-old moneyed class live. But back in the day, they were nouveau too. Yet these homes are beautiful architecture - post and beam, glass, classic. You wonder why their neighbors on the other bank didn't emulate them.

But new money, or old money, it's nice to know that people somewhere at least HAVE money.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

El Centro de Unemployment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Metropolitan Area Unemployment Survey today. Jobless rates were higher this February than last in every one of the 372 metro areas the survey tracks. That's not surprising.

The worst unemployment: El Centro, California with more than 24%. This town is in the heart of the Imperial Valley, east of San Diego. The BLS numbers track nicely with the job site, simplyhired.com's tracking. It shows the number of job listings in El Centro has declined by 27% since August 2007.
The metro area with the lowest jobless rate is curiously the place where I was born. According to the BLS, the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux district has an unemployment rate of 3.5%. At least those Cajuns have jobs.