Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unemployed restaurant critic now 'food stamp foodie'

Take a listen. It's a short video that accompanied a piece in the Seattle Times on Saturday about a former newspaper restaurant critic, now out of work, who has a new relationship with food: making sure he uses his monthly food stamp allotment well so his cupboard and refrigerator aren't empty.

The piece he wrote for the paper is riveting because it offers another anecdote on how a job lost to the Great Recession has cost someone his/her middle-class lifestyle. The New York Times has written about the many affected this way in an occasional series it calls The New Poor.

Some readers' comments on the Seattle Times piece aren't charitable: "A talented man with skills and the ability to work is, instead, mooching off the taxpayers. Get a job," wrote one.

Let's not forget, though, that the U.S. still isn't adding jobs at a fast clip (neither is journalism).

The trend in long-term unemployment is up: those jobless for 27 weeks or more went from 39.8 percent of unemployed workers in December 2009 to 45.9 percent in April. The total number of people unemployed in April was 15.3 million.

The numbers for May are due out Friday.

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