The emotional, financial struggles of Christmas on unemployment
December 17th, 2010
12:13 PM ET

The emotional, financial struggles of Christmas on unemployment

Living on unemployment is tough enough during the year but the sting of unemployment is felt more sharply during the holidays.

CNN's Jim Roope talks with a man - he asked that he not be identified - who is trying to stretch his $900 dollar unemployment check from food to Christmas for his family of five.

"You watch every penny," he said. "it's difficult. The older kids understand as best they can, but the younger ones look at you and ask what did I do wrong this year."

Hear his story by clicking the audio button.

Listen to the complete story by clicking the audio button:

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Filed under: Economy • Jobs
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. kevin

    Whiners aye? People were jumping from buildings during the generations. Now, fathers are killing their entire families to prevent financial ruin. You do the comparison. Now is worse than then.

    Our ideals have fallen, our hopes are futile, unless we cut the head from the top of the hierarchy.

    You wouldn't now how it feels to be the bottom of the totem. So quit whining about people who have stories to share. Privilege is not becoming of you.

    December 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Honor480

      Citing one tragic and violent incident of the current economic mess doesn't make it worse than the GREAT depression. Many programs that help the unemployed today weren't around then. People were starving to death, etc.

      Also there will always be a group of poor who are in dire need. That is a constant. The only difference now is that there are more people in need and in misery than usual.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sass

    wow trex... were you born stupid and ill mannered or just became that way..
    your mother must be so embarrassed by you.
    shame on you!

    December 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Understand Too Much

      you are truly an idiot

      December 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jennifer

    quit whining...if you have been sitting on your butt for 2 years collecting made your own bed...after I was laid off I found what ever I could immediately!!! and my new job now hired me cuz instead of sitting on my butt waiting for a full time job..I was working part time while looking for a full time job....I was hired (at 50) over 300 applicants because I had a part time job and the HR lady said that stood out over all the "unemployed" people that were not even looking for anything that did not match their former salary...if you are middle aged and have no savings or 401k you can tap...thats your own stupidity...and if you are overweight...dont have a new hair style and one is going to hire you....keep your self up and have some pride for gods sake!!!!!!

    December 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • 32yrsNoutsrcd

      You're so wonderful. What an inspiration. All our problems are solved. We're so glad the world revolves around you. Thank you Thank you Thank you

      December 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsjustme

      Tell us another one. We need a Christmas Court Jester on these boards.

      TRY to find something!!! 3 weeks ago I was on an interview; out of 70 resumes they were intervieiwing 12 people! How in fudge can you compete with 11 other people???

      And it is UNREALISTIC to think you can find 1 candidate out of 12. Either the interviewer is in fantasy land, looking for the perfect employee, does not know how to screen and select candidates or the interviewer is clueless, periodl

      This was a garden variety admin assistant job, not a supervisor or some manager or boss. Get real, people: you're not a Fortune 10 company; you're a small time peanut in a large peanut bag. Give us a break!

      90% of the unemployment problem are interviewers like these. If this keeps up, you will see 10% unemployment as THE NORM...and 20% unemployment as THE NORM, if you use the U6 number.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    The recession has been good to me. Gas prices got lower, goods got cheaper and I bought a house that sold for 350k few years ago for 125k. I work for the government, still got my raise every year. I just make 96k a year and times are good for me.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • SallyC.

      Bill, thank you for sharing. I am glad you are able to sleep at night. Many of your fellow American's are not.

      December 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsjustme


      December 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Last Leg

      Wow, Bill! The fact that you have the audacity to even comment on this post with your arrogance makes me dislike you. Unitl you can relate to anything this post discuss' and climb off of your high horse, please keep your comments to yourself, as it is very apparent you don't have any idea of what we are dealing with.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. The swamp Girl

    The sad fact is American workers are a dime a dozen. American Big Business is investing in Asian workers because the labor there is the least expensive. Big business son't have to deal with labor unions, paying school taxes and benefits.. The American system is dead for the worker. What jobs that are offered , the Asians have and the rest of the jobs have been taken over by technology

    December 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsjustme

      To quote the great Austin Powers: "Groovy, baby."

      Note my sarcasm.

      Investing in Asian worekrs? Very good: that means you're investing in garbage that is made in a hurry and made as cheaply as possible. Garments sewn there don't last; they're a dang rag after less than one season. Have a look at the seams on these items: pure TRASH.

      And of course, we all remember the melamime disaster of 2007.

      Buy American, source American.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PP.

    Jennifer: be careful how harshly you attack others who are unemployed. Do you live alone? Sometimes it is easy for others to think they have "our" answers. I have been unemployed for 18 mo from F&B. Not that i haven't tried call centers etc. Now credit score is bad so really NO job. Be careful how mean you are cuz you may find yourself there someday learning the lessons you call some of us "stupid" for. I'd even love a $15.00 cut I DO NOT smoke either.

    December 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsjustme

      NOBODY is immune to being laid off, not even union workers. You're one paycheck away from unemployment.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Big Al

    if you are unemployed you should be willing to take an agricultural job out in the field beside the Mexicans – what are you too good for that position – the White House should make this a requirement before giving out those unemployment checks

    December 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • 32yrsNoutsrcd

      So how are things out there on the plantation innthe big house?

      December 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coolsvillez

      I think Pol Pot ran a country into the ground the same way. When people couldn't cut it they just stacked their skulls.

      December 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Coolsvillez

    I get so infuriated with the ignorance of people that call the unemployed satisfied to be on unemployment. It's not just about earning a living. There's so much self-esteem, self-achievement, and self-respect in working. I was laid off in 2008. It was one month before another opportunity opened up. I took it. It lasted one month; contract. I continued to troll the internet for jobs doing anything and spent every day for hours looking, filng out applications, sending cover letters and resumes. I would get an interview maybe once a month, and come in second place. Out of 6 hand picked applicants, but second is still not working. I got another one month contract 6 months later. This has been going on since 2008. I've spent my life savings to survive and not lose my house. Then when that was gone I'm now removing money from an IRA that was cut in half the same year that I lost my job. I'm eager to work. Starbucks, WalMart, Target none of those companies will hire someone like me because at the first opportunity when offered a job in my career, I will leap for it. I know it and they know it. I've sold whatever I have of value. The problem is not that I'm not trying very hard to get a job, its that there are 5 – 10 people for every job, employers have realized that they can get more work out of their underfunded organizations, and they have also learned that they can take pay back to ten years ago and only hire temporary contractors and offer no benefits, no days off, no holidays for less than they earned two years ago with benefits.
    And now, they just rewarded those companies through the tax reform. Business has the money, they are just not spending it. Profit is king right now not progress.

    December 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      What all this boils down to is that their are some of us who has really tried to get a job, but we just are unable to obtain one for one reason or another – anywhere. Though we search day after day. Then you have those that sit back and do their drugs and ride the system as they have most of their life for one reason or another. Then you have some of the working class ( like some of us where ) watching the billions of dollars being spent on unemployment and think to themselves that if they are working then we should be. The working people see some non-working people drive around in nicer vehicles than them, watching non-employed be with their family going to fairs, going out to eat, vacations – when some working class cannot. This is why the ones that really really have been trying to find a job are the ones being overlooked because they have to treat all non-employed somewhat the same. So some of us like me, will have to suffer. While those abusing the system have a free ride. I can say I held the same job for over 10yrs or so as others can. I want to work. Some people don't.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Foodhistorian

    Got five kids? Why not run an after school program for kids who have parents who work late? As long as you limit the number to no more than 4, you won't have to worry about zoning laws, either. $20 per kid including supper would be reasonable.

    December 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Big Al

    Hey 32yrsNutSac, things are great out in the Plantation.

    December 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Brown

      Not too much thinking out there, huh...

      December 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Free the Leaf

    HEMP economy. american jobs. 40,000+ uses

    December 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jcrict123

    My husband and I voted for Obama and have paid the same tax rate for the past ten years. We are all Americans and should be treated the same with the same rules and laws for everyone. Our accountant just called to say we will have to write a check for $75,000 in additional taxes beyond what was taken out of my husband's paychecks. We have four children and he works, I work two consulting jobs and we both work very hard. This money is a huge hit to our savings so for those out of work, it's a horrible thing but to say others have to give say 60% percent of what they make is beyond ridiculous. When you make minimum wage, should you only get $.40 when all is said and done? Everyone in this country should pull the same percentage of weight.

    December 31, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    Amount of unemployed people in the US during the great depression:
    Amount of people unemployed now in the US:
    Welcome to the new depression, the numbers are greater now than they were then of people suffering, the percentage is all relative...

    It can be argued that with the cost of living that occurred over the years, underemployed are just as screwed as those during the 1930's

    January 3, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
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