Getting a job can be an adventure in the best of circumstances.  Having a criminal record is not the best of circumstances, but people with prison in the past need work in the present and future. 

Nathan Beard helps people with criminal records find work.  His assignments include helping people through Jackson County's probation office. 

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The unemployment rates for the nation and our states continue to look pretty good. 

Oregon and California are both right around four percent unemployment.  But not uniformly; Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon, for example, tend to run about two points higher than the statewide average. 

Damon Runberg is a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department

Dllu/wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52148287

Technology wins: in many places, you don't have to call a cab anymore, you just use your Uber app to summon a ride-share.  Great for people wanting to get from place to place... but how about those drivers?  Is life behind the wheel all they thought it would be? 

Technology ethnographer Alex Rosenblat rode thousands of miles on Uber to find the answers to those questions, and many more. 

The resulting book is called Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work.  The book gives an overview of the technological, economic, and even cultural power Uber now wields. 

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The news about Oregon's unemployment rate is great, on its surface: the lowest rate recorded since the current accounting system went into place in 1976. 

But if you live in rural Oregon, as many of our listeners do, you might wonder where the prosperity is. 

A new report on "The Employment Landscape of Rural Oregon" shows just how much the rural parts of the state lag economically behind the urban areas. 

Oregon Employment Department

Oregon started counting the unemployment rate in the current method back in 1976. 

And in that entire time, the rate has never dropped to 3.8%.  Until now. 

Unemployment dipped to a record level in March, lower than the national average (which is 4.5 %; California stands at 4.9%).

There are plenty of stories behind the numbers.  Timothy Duy at the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon tracks the numbers and the stories, as does David Cooke at the Employment Department.

High-Centered In The Rust Belt

Aug 16, 2016

J.D. Vance's memoir Hillbilly Elegy is well-timed for an election year focused on the rage of working-class white people. 

Because that's the family background that spawned him, before going on to the Marines, college, and Yale Law School. 

His family moved from Appalachia to the industrial Midwest... in the days before people called that "the Rust Belt."  Vance is honest and probing and frequently very funny in writing about his birth family and culture. 

We Are What We Do (Aren't We?)

Jun 13, 2016

 If you happen to meet Adam Davis, ask him what he does for a living. 

He'd probably get a chuckle out of it.  Davis is the Executive Director of Oregon Humanities--you know, "O. Hm."--and he leads the Conversation Project offering called "What Do You Do?"

It's a VERY common question upon meeting fellow Americans; small wonder, since we work longer hours than people in many other developed countries. 

Job Hunting For Older Workers

Jun 3, 2016
Jan Jankovic/wikimedia

Recoveries from recessions do not affect all sectors of society equally, we've learned. 

Just ask older workers who lost jobs in the Great Recession.  They've had some bumps and bruises on the way to finding jobs that match their qualifications and salary requirements. 

The Successful Aging Institute at Lane Community College takes note of the trend, and offers an evening workshop on job-hunting resources for workers 50 and up, Tuesday (June 7) at the Eugene Library, downtown. 

Planning The Way To Better Work

Mar 1, 2016
Penguin Books

The realization often comes to us in the form of a question, one day at work: what am I doing here?  Followed by: but what else would I do? 

Julie Jansen can totally relate; more than a decade ago, she published the first edition of her book I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This

She's updated it several times, with a new edition out this week.  The basic approach remains the same: helping readers in unsatisfying jobs--or unemployed--figure out what jobs would best use their skills and interests. 

The Effect Of "Toxic" Workers In The Office

Feb 16, 2016

You've heard the phrase: it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

In this segment we ask if workplaces stuck with so-called toxic workers also suffer that kind of blight.

Michael Housman is a workplace analyst whose studied the problem of "toxic workers," using data from hundreds of thousands of employees.

Your Work Life As A Serial

Jan 28, 2016
Atria Books

Once upon a time, you got a job, someone showed you to your desk, and you got to work... for YEARS. 

The days of people sticking 25 or even five years at one job appear to be behind us, largely because of economic forces. 

Award-winning journalist Farai Chideya noticed examples of the trend over and over while reporting other projects. 

So she turned her attention squarely to the world of work in her book The Episodic Career.  As the title suggests, it's about navigating the new work place(s), in which moving on to the next job happens more often. 

Fuze Publishing

  Growing up isn't easy, and apparently, neither is moving out.

More and more young adults are living with their parents into their 20s and even 30s.

This might be typical in some cultures, but in America it's overhauling a family dynamic built on the promise of an empty nest for hardworking parents, and job opportunities for grown kids.

A couple of PhDs specializing in family counseling tracked five households as they grappled with this generation gap.

They wrote the book Whose Couch is it Anyway?

Oregon Employment Takes Off

Nov 26, 2014
Public Domain

The last time Oregon's employment shot up this high, Bill Clinton was president, and "Waterworld" was in movie theatres. 

Figures from the state Employment Department show October of this year adding nearly 10,000 to Oregon payrolls. 

Several sectors of the economy performed better than economists expected. 

Plugging The Job Skills Gap

Jul 24, 2014
Public Domain

The recent findings that Oregon job openings are staying open for long periods because of under-qualified workers got the attention of political leaders. 

State Rep. Peter Buckley of Ashland and his Senate counterpart host a meeting this evening (July 24) to explore the factors in the "skills gap" and possible solutions. 

Looking Hard For People To Hire

Jun 27, 2014

Both employers and potential employees are complaining about the current hiring climate in Oregon. 

The employers want workers and the workers want jobs, but there are mismatches. 

Many employers report difficulty filling jobs, because they require more skills than many of the available workers possess. 

What's Behind Oregon's Improving Employment

May 23, 2014
Public Domain

Officially, the national recession ended several years ago. 

You could not prove that by a lot of workers, especially in Oregon. 

But employment in the state appears to be improving, if not surging... it's just not consistent across the state; Southwest Oregon lags behind.

DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

It is not a very Happy New Year for unemployed people, but it's even less happy for the long-term unemployed. 

Because Congress recessed for the holiday season without extending unemployment payments, as it had in previous years. 

Oregon Employment Department

Oregon's unemployment rate is only now dropping to levels last seen before the Great Recession. 

But there's still plenty of room for improvement; thousands of people are either looking for employment or new jobs to replace the ones they have. 

California Unemployment Computer Problems Known

Oct 15, 2013

California officials knew a computer upgrade for the state's unemployment insurance program was vulnerable to problems before it was installed.

The Sacramento Bee reports that officials underestimated how many unemployment claims would be affected by a glitch in the $188 million system upgrade.

The data-conversion problem eventually delayed jobless benefits for nearly $150,000 Californians.

Some Unemployed Californians Need To Wait For Their Checks

Sep 18, 2013

About 50,000 unemployed Californians have had their benefit checks delayed as the state struggles to implement a computer system upgrade.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Employment Development Department processed about 15,000 of the delayed claims by Tuesday morning and hoped to finish the rest by the end of the week.