Long-term unemployment easing, as many accept lower paySubmitted by DeMolay on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 09:00
James Ensley, of Rocky Face, Ga., took a $10,000-a-year job last month as a school bus driver after almost two years of unemployment benefits ran out. While that's one-third of what he had made as a warehouse manager, the father of two says he's content.
"It feels great to go to work instead of having somebody tell you, 'I can't help you,'" said Ensley, 51, whose former employer went bankrupt in the housing slump. "I miss my old job, but it is not coming back so I have to get over it."
A surge in long-term unemployment, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has cited as evidence of a "far from normal" labor market, is abating. That's good news for American companies, which are taking advantage of a pool of 5.2 million people whose career hardships have made them eager to return to work.
Most of the re-employed have had to settle for reduced pay, allowing businesses to keep labor costs low while boosting profits amid sluggish sales gains after the deepest recession since the 1930s.