US Household Income

Recession officially over, U.S. incomes kept falling, By Robert Pear, October 9, 2011, New York Times: “In a grim sign of the enduring nature of the economic slump, household income declined more in the two years after the recession ended than it did during the recession itself, new research has found. Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession – from December 2007 to June 2009 – household income fell 3.2 percent. The finding helps explain why Americans’ attitudes toward the economy, the country’s direction and its political leaders have continued to sour even as the economy has been growing. Unhappiness and anger have come to dominate the political scene, including the early stages of the 2012 presidential campaign…”

Los Angeles County Health Program

L.A. County expands no-cost healthcare, By Anna Gorman, October 9, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “In one of the largest expansions of health coverage to the uninsured, Los Angeles County is enrolling hundreds of thousands of residents in a publicly funded treatment program and setting the stage for the national healthcare overhaul. The county hopes to register as many as 550,000 patients and is assigning them to medical clinics for services at no cost to them. At the same time, the county is transforming its healthcare system to be less focused on acute care and more on primary care. The changes are expected to reduce costs, streamline care and attract patients. Under President Obama’s controversial healthcare overhaul, millions more uninsured Californians will be eligible for Medicaid – the healthcare program for the poor – beginning in 2014. Even as the debate over the law continues in Washington, California is starting that expansion now and using federal dollars to do so. Altogether, the state expects to receive $2.3 billion to expand and modernize its Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, now available only to certain low-income residents…”

Long-Term Unemployment

Unemployed seek protection against job bias, By Sam Hananel (AP), October 9, 2011, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “After two years on the unemployment rolls, Selena Forte thought she’d found a temporary job at a delivery company that matched her qualifications. But Forte, a 55-year-old from Cleveland, says a recruiter for an employment agency told her she would not be considered for the job because she had been out of work too long. She had lost her job driving a bus. ‘They didn’t even want to hear about my experience,’ said Forte. ‘It didn’t make sense. You’re always told just go out there and get a job.’ Forte, scraping by now as a part time substitute school bus driver, is part of a growing number of unemployed or underemployed Americans who complain they are being screened out of job openings for the very reason they’re looking for work in the first place. Some companies and job agencies prefer applicants who already have jobs, or haven’t been jobless too long…”