New Texas Unemployment figures came out today showing that Texas is finally feeling what the rest of the country's already felt. Our unemployment rate is now at 6% - Houston's is 5.5% - translating to 157,000 Houstonians who can't find work. We are covering the stats on the TV side today. Our coverage is here. But numbers don't tell the full story of what is happening in Houston.
Despite assurances that Houston is doing better than other parts of the country - there are still thousands of our neighbors out of work - and for them it is little comfort that Houston is better than anywhere else. It's bad to be out of work anywhere.
Earlier this week we went to find those people. We spent Wednesday morning at Northwest Bible Church's Between Jobs Ministry. It is a long-standing project of the church that aims to help people - regardless of religious affiliation - find new jobs. Their track record is impressive. You can look at some of their success stories on their website: (http://www.nwbc.org/id15.html).
We asked some of the group's members to sit down with us and share their stories of getting laid off - how they heard the news - what scares them - what it was like to tell children and spouses. The interviews were surprisingly candid. Take a look - the bios attached were written by the job seekers themselves. I am not saying these are the model job seekers or the most dramatic stories. These are a slice of our community – people who need work and willing to shed the embarrassment and talk about it.
I would love to hear your comments as well. This is a tough time to understand what is happening in our city. I need to hear from you what is really happening in the job market.
I bring great energy and competence to my work. I am diplomatic, organized, maintain a high level of integrity and have strong Spanish/bilingual communication skills as well as conversational Italian. I am cheerful and posses the "can do" attitude and ability to handle matters of tremendous sensitivity. Although I was laid off in late January, I did not start my job search until July 2008. I immediately started to attend the weekly 7:30a.m. BJM, Sr. Managers Meetings, though. I desire a position as an executive administrator (senior level focusing on project management) or in client development. And despite all the tough times, I still feel that losing my job of 25 years was the best thing to have happened. Losing your job is losing your identity in a sense — and what better way to find your strengths and refocus your direction in life. I am in "LinkedIn" and people can use that to gain access to my e-mail and my network. (WATCH PAT)
Certified Purchasing Management Professional with broad-based experience in purchasing, contracts management and inventory control for chemical manufacturing, oil & gas, packaging and pipeline companies. Proven record of accomplishments in process improvements, transactional efficiencies and cost savings to impact the bottom line. I began my job search on December 16, 2008 and I'm searching for a procurement or contracts management position. Along the way I have been impressed with the friendships I have made in a short time period through the Between the Job Ministries group and the willingness of others who are searching for a position to help you. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (WATCH JEFF)
I'm a native Houstonian that attended Cy-Fair High and Texas A&M, class of 1992. My journey of 3 'reductions in force' within 14 months began in Oct 2007. After 7 years with Centex Homes, I was out of work. In Nov 2007 I went to work for a private builder in Albuquerque and was laid off in April 2008 due to market conditions. We moved back to Houston in May 2008 and I went to work for Meritage Homes. I was laid off in Dec 2008 due to organizational changes made to adjust to the current market. My goal is to find a mid to senior level position within a Purchasing/Supply Chain operation. I'm a results-driven Professional prepared with more than 13 years of experience in purchasing, management, supply chain, business development, market strategy, pricing, market analysis and project management. "You can get mad or you can get busy!" email@example.com (WATCH HOOKER)
I am a native Texan. I grew up in Bay City and have lived in Houston for 24 years. I have been married almost 25 years and have three children - one in college, one in high school, and one in junior high. My degree is a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have been looking for work since just after Hurricane Ike. My ideal job would be to spend money for very wealthy people. But back to the real world, I would like to work in the Supply Chain/Logistics field in a position that has potential to grow into management. My experience has mostly been in the chemical and oil & gas industries. I didn't expect the economy to take as sharp a downturn as it did and I didn't expect to still be without a job. But I also didn't expect to grow so much from the experience or to feel as worry-free as I do. firstname.lastname@example.org (WATCH CLAYBOURN)
I was born in The Netherlands, raised and educated all over the world. I worked in Europe, the U.S. and South Korea. After years of trying to figure out where 'home' is, I have finally concluded that my home is wherever I'm living in the now. I proudly consider myself a citizen of the world! While attending university (Business administration and Economics) in the Netherlands I moved to South Korea with my husband. While taking classes at EWHA University, the only institution which taught the courses I needed in English, I was introduced to the non-profit world. In 2000 after retiring from a CPA firm in The Woodlands, I saw a niche in the small to medium business sector where I could continue to feed my passion to help others by starting up my own accountancy practice. I enjoyed the daily challenges that my diverse clients presented me which expanded my knowledge in many areas. For seven years my practice grew and prospered. When it came time to make a decision to expand or sell. I chose to sell my practice to another like-minded CPA. Not long after I was suddenly widowed. I was fortunate to have made the right decision. Without warning after being happily married for 21 years, I found myself a widow with two children ages 16 and 19, Nov. 27, 2007! I was left without a signed will, life insurance policy and debt. My skills were so diverse that I found myself sinking in broad interests and the more I tried to surface the more I recognized that, like it or not, the path to a new life had been forged. I had to quickly adapt pragmatic strategies to maintain my sanity and my strength. What people I’ve met along the way don’t know about finding a job... The main theme is knowledge... Read the local and worldwide newspapers.. Watch the news... Keep up to date in all economic, business related, charitable, human interest and sport arenas worldwide... You never know when a topic can be used to get your foot in the door!(WATCH KARIN)
Larry Bunge (WATCH LARRY)
Darren Franklin (WATCH DARREN)