99 Weeks: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out

Scott Pelley Reports On The Growing Number of Americans Who Are Exhausting Their Benefits

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"How many of you have cashed out your 401ks? IRAs? Savings accounts?" Pelley asked.

Again, many hands went up.

A lot of them are too young to retire and, maybe, too old to rehire. The longer they're out, the tougher it gets.

Judy Thompson was marking the time before she loses her home. "Three months maybe, and I've been in that house since 1982. I don't want to move," she said.

Asked where she is going to go, Thompson told Pelley, "I don't know. I'm trying' not to think that far ahead. But anyway, didn't mean to get emotional. Sorry."

Sara Huber may lose her family business of 23 years. "Everything's gone and we can't survive 'cause these people can't survive," she explained.

"Because these people don't have jobs, they're not coming to your business?" Pelley asked.

"The equity lines are frozen, Right. People don't have credit. There's nothing there," she replied.

When asked how long her business can go on, Huber said, "We're going month to month, literally. I'm praying for more work."

Jim Wild has been applying for jobs two years. "I've gone through the tier one companies. I've gone through the tier two companies and now I'm down to Target. I just got a job offer from Target to work a part-time job at 9.50 or 9.25 an hour," he explained.

The Target job is floor sales; previously, Wild was a fiber optics engineering manager.

He's taking the job at Target and he's glad to get it.

These folks aren't that unusual: today, nearly 20 percent of the unemployed in America have college degrees.

Silicon Valley lost its jobs in construction, manufacturing and in high-tech engineering that went overseas. San Jose looks the same, but it shrank by 75,000 jobs. Many buildings there stand empty.

The national unemployment rate of about nine and a half percent sounds incredibly high and of course it is. But it doesn't nearly capture the depth of the trouble. It doesn't count the people who've seen their hours cut to part time. It doesn't count the people who have quit looking for work.

If you add all of that together, the unemployed and the underemployed, it's not nine and a half percent, it's 17 percent; and in California it's 22 percent.

And what makes it so much worse is that, nationwide, one third of the unemployed have been out of work more than a year. That hasn't happened since the Depression.