My Son got a Job! San Antonio Unemployment

by Mamie Carter

My son found a job, Yee-haw! and he starts this week, Whoopee! He worked for San Antonio's largest financial firm for four and a half years until his job ended April 30.

Then he joined 69,599 other unemployed San Antonians. "I felt bummed out but liberated," he said. "I didn't have to show up for work every day."

According to the San Antonio Express-News, our city's unemployment rate is 7.1 percent. That was a 10-year high in July and the lowest rate of Texas' largest cities. The national average is 9.4 percent. San Antonio, which employs folks from eight counties, has a work force of nearly one million. Of those, 912,200 are employed, and the rest are looking for jobs.

The newspaper quoted Keith Phillips, senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, as saying, "There are some straws in the wind suggesting things are going to turn."

Straws indeed. If you've noticed, a few storefronts display signs reading "Now Hiring" and "Help Wanted." Classified ads advertise service jobs for makers of beds and sandwiches. A couple young men on busy street corners wear cardboard signs that proclaim, "20 to 30% off" for stores' going-out-of-business sales.

With copious time on his hands, my son placed his resume on four internet websites. He attended three job fairs and interviewed by computer, telephone and in person. But he couldn't find a job that fit.

So my son and his girlfriend, who also became jobless two months later, cultivated obscure "ghost" peppers, swam in San Pedro Springs swimming hole and walked Austin. They rode their bikes because it was cheaper than driving and borrowed the library's movies. My son enrolled in a free Texas Department of Agriculture cooking class and learned to make vegetarian hamburgers. My offer of a recipe for beans and rice soup was declined.

"You don't eat out as much," he said. "You reuse things. You make a dollar go a bit farther using coupons. I cut corners anywhere I could." By and by, he missed cash jingling in his pocket and a health plan that paid for doctor and dentist's visits.

Recently an international package shipping company offered him a job in internal sales. He accepted with pleasure.

"It feels good to be a productive member of society again," he said. ""I am happy to wake up in the morning and have somebody looking for me at work. They're enthusiastic about my showing up."