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Midland Park

Unemployment Figures Misrepresent the True Picture

12/23/2013 08:20AM ● By Rebecca K. Abma

By John Fugazzie, founder of Neighbors-helping-Neighbors

With congress not acting to fund the extension of unemployment benefits, 1.3 million job seekers' benefits will be cut off Dec. 28. By the end of 2014, 4.9 million will be impacted. Much of the media coverage and bias political and economic chatter do not reflect the real numbers of people out of work.

Once you are no longer receiving unemployment benefits, you are no longer counted in the unemployment figures. The official state unemployment rate dropped from 8.4% to 7.8% last month, however, 351,767 people remain unemployed. Only 16,900 jobs were added from last month and those added jobs are not solely responsible for the statistical drop in the unemployment rate. Those whose benefits have expired are simply no longer counted among the unemployed.

As a jobs advocate, I know firsthand from working with job seekers that the only solution is to create jobs and change attitudes towards the long-term unemployed. Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA, a nationally recognized, cost-free peer-led volunteer job search support and networking group support is helping to do just that. 

Founded on Jan. 27, 2011 at the River Edge Library, we added a second group six months later and expanded exponentially. As we head into our third anniversary, we have 24 groups that meet weekly to help the unemployed get back to work. To date, more than 350 job seekers have returned to the work force through the help of this free program. 

NhN has a guest speaker program at Montclair State University, which resumes Jan. 22, 2014 with a LinkedIn Presentation from Joe Ned, and the continued motivation of 1,200 member job seekers and 2,800 in our LinkedIn group. If you are out of work or fear that possibility at your current job please join our LinkedIn group.

Locally, Neighbors-helping-Neighbors meets at the Waldwick Library, 19 E. Prospect St., at 7pm on Mondays (next meeting Jan. 6) and at the Ridgewood Library, 125 North Maple Ave., at 7pm on Thursdays (next meeting Jan. 9). For more information, visit

John Fugazzie, founder of Neighbors-helping-Neighbors, offers 12 Tips for the Christmas Job Seeker on aol jobs


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