Media Ignore Alice As Face Of Unemployment

Forbes magazine contributor shares a letter from a highly-educated woman who still can’t find work.

Although Associated Press recently claimed the jobs situation in the U.S was looking “robust” and “healthy,” one South Carolina woman called that a “slap in the face.”

The woman, Alice Lang from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, wrote to Forbes contributor John Zogby to share her story. She also condemned the practice of not counting long-term unemployed as unemployed.

“I am not a statistic. I am a real person,” Lang wrote. “I am a writer, teacher, advocate and project manager with a Master’s degree in history and a Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have been looking for gainful employment since August 2014 after my job as a college instructor was downsized due to budget cuts.”

She described her extensive efforts to search for a position through networking, cold calling and more.

“I talk to people every day while waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in the dentist’s office, or simply walking down the street,” Lang explained. “Without fail, I learn that either the person I am speaking with is unemployed or one of his friends or family members is out of work.”

That’s why the AP story infuriated her. It pointed out the fact that people who have given up are no longer counted, a practice she condemned. Job seekers like herself already feel “ignored.”

Lang continued, “We are invisible and voiceless because, according to the government and the press, we do not exist. I, for one, am determined to change that, and I invite others to join me.”

Zogby called Lang the “living breathing soul of unemployment” in his column. Her story illustrated his previous concern that “the official unemployment rate is a terribly inadequate metric that lets a lot of people fall through the cracks.” People like Alice.

— Julia A. Seymour is Assistant Managing Editor for MRC Business at the Media Research Center. Follow Julia A. Seymour on Twitter.