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Unemployment in Arizona

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Unemployment in the State of Arizona rose 2.2% in 2008, bringing the state’s preliminary 2008 (November) unemployment rate to a whopping 6.3%. As a matter of fact, Arizona’s jobless rate rivals that of California, and the State’s percentage of job-losses in 2008 were significantly higher than those of The Golden State. I guess we can be sure that all of those penalty-revenue traffic laws aren’t helping to save jobs in Arizona; they just add insult to injury, heaping additional fines and taxes upon an already over-burdened and unemployed population.

I tried to apply for unemployment in Arizona. Since August of 2008 I have wrestled with the mega-bureaucracy from Phoenix with no success. I have called, written, faxed, even messaged my state representatives, all with not only zero success, but no response. In order to receive unemployment benefits, an Arizona citizen completes an unemployment application (which, as in my case, may be done online). The citizen then waits for the State to process their application and mail additional documentation and requirements via standard US Post. While I found this first part fairly quick and painless, the story changed almost immediately. What followed was a series of un-sendable faxes (busy signals and “down” lines), unanswered calls (“We’re experiencing unusually high call volume and unable to take your call…”) and other standard, government-issue runarounds.

So now it has been five months since I was laid off, no luck finding gainful employment here, and I am still working to get assistance from the State. Today I visited the local unemployment office in which I found a posted sign which read, “Unemployment office has been moved to: Call Center.” That’s a joke! They’re staffing an actual brick-and-mortar office with people who can do nothing but refer to me to the call center; that’s the same call center that’s not answering their phones because of a call-volume that’s too high! I wonder, since our representatives have never had any trouble allowing, nay pushing for, our jobs to be “off-shored,” why the State of Arizona hasn’t farmed out their call center business to any number of available specialty companies in India and elsewhere?

For the record, I have never before been, “on the public dole,” nor have I ever received any type of government assistance, in fact I still haven’t to this day. I pay my taxes, lots of them, and have never asked for anything; now that I need help, it is simply not available. I understand that the economy is bad, I get that the State is overwhelmed, and I know that there are lots of people who are much worse-off than I. I can only hope that the people who really need help are getting it, somehow, but without the resources to “work the system,” how can they? I’m a smart cookie. I have a home office, computers, a fax, phone, etc. If I can’t get help, what of the suddenly unemployed single parent with mounting bills, turned-off utilities, and hungry mouths to feed?

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About Nate Fleischer

  • Nate, although your experience doesn’t give me much comfort, I am relieved to know that I’m not alone. I lost my job in mid-October and immediately applied for insurance benefits. I was encouraged by the quick response to my application. I was asked to complete a couple of forms which I submitted within the required time period and I received my “debit card” which I foolishly interpreted as a sign that payment was eminent. Nothing. Each week I have checked the payment status…”you were not issued payment because of an unresolved issue on your claim…you will be mailed a form…” The rest of the story mirror’s yours in every respect including the observations in your last paragraph.

    If there are two of us with this experience there are certainly hundreds of others. I have been struggling with a way to “get the word out” in hopes that numbers might draw enough attention to the problem and lead to a solution (I’ve been marching since the Vietnam era). I have considerable financial experience in the private and public sector, none of which has help me with DES; however, I do have a complete home office, the support of my attorney husband and due to the job market, time available. I’m an avid internet user, but never felt the need to establish my own blog. You have inspired me and my new Google blog is: View from the Dark Side of the Moon.

    Nate, any suggestions?

  • Hope and Change?

    Rather than waste time and money blogging why dont you stop complaining and try to get a job!

  • Normally I wouldn’t respond to a personal attack like this, but I simply cannot refrain. In short, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Period.

  • Jet

    the good news Nate is that he’s just one moron

  • I second your comment, Jet. Who does he/she think he is?

  • Jet

    Roger-do you realize the panic you could cause on this website if someone agreed with me?

  • From what I’ve been able to observe thus far, Jet, I think you’ve been able to stand on your own, give as well as take. So I’m not worrying about it! It’s just beyond me that anyone even semi-intelligent could reduce Nate’s rather short piece to such a crude remark. I don’t think they belong in this universe of discourse.

  • Jet

    JOM has no conscience, which is why he’s been banned from this site on several occasions.

  • Jet

    Now that my body chemistry has stabilized, I’m scheduled for open heart triple bypass Jan 23rd.

    I’ve seriously considered writing enough articles to bring my total up to 100, but I don’t want my swansong in case I don’t survive to be a bunch of smartass remarks from that jerk.


  • Thank you all for the support! Jet, I sincerely hope that all goes well for you medically. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Jet

    A collective crossing of fingers at 7:30AM will suffice… and thanks

  • You got it!

  • My father-in-law just had open heart surgery: a mitral valve repair and bypass. He’s making a great recovery – enjoys showing off his Frankenstein scars. Hope yours goes as well, Jet. 🙂

  • Dammit, I knew I’d forget to change my screen name back…

  • Jet

    Thanks Doc(s) Apologies for suddenly hijacking your article Nate. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program…

  • I wish I could qualify, Jet. I’m just on medication, which doesn’t relieve the congestion; consequently, I can’t do any serious workouts and get back into shape like I used to. It’s like operating on four cylinders.
    If everything goes all right, you’ll feel like a new person; so you have that to look forward to.
    The best of luck; and yes, let’s restore this thread to the original intent.

  • “Roger-do you realize the panic you could cause on this website if someone agreed with me?”

    Yeah, what would the site do if Jet had to drop the “woe is me, no one listens” shtick?

  • Jet

    Try doing 14 prescriptions a day, 90mg of Cymbalta and being treating for heart problems, post traumatic stress and severe depression.

    then you can whine at me bitch

  • Cindy D

    We just found out the 60-something-year-old disabled man who delivers our payroll has been sleeping in his car. It’s 10 degrees outside. We’re making him a key to sleep in the office.

    I have begun wondering how many people we can fit in here at night without alerting the landlord or the town.

  • Jet

    Cindy, 5 years ago I donated $10,000 to convert a warehouse to temp living quarters for fire victims in San Diego.

    Now I can’t do it, and it hurts that I can’t.

    I feel your pain.

  • I don’t think El Bicho was bitching, Jet, just expressing their love for you in an odd way!

  • It’s kind of you, Cindy. It’s fairly easy to be writing treatises in political science and philosophy. Infinitely more difficult to help a person in need.

  • Jet

    Oh… well… that explains it. Thanks Roger.

  • Cindy D


    I couldn’t give money either. But I have this space. It’s empty and wasted at night, that’s not acceptable. People died in their cars one year here, parked behind the supermarket where they lived in winter. I’ve arranged to work at the soup kitchen, I hope I can fit whoever has a need.

  • Cindy,

    I didn’t mean it in any sarcastic kind of way. I really meant it. Did you misunderstand what I said?

  • Cindy D

    No Roger,

    Actually I missed your comment. Thanks.

    But speak for yourself when you say it’s easy to write treatises on anything. I have trouble with simple articles. 🙂

  • I didn’t mean it in that sense, Cindy, only in the comparative sense, that is, contrasting it with putting your own person on the line. Don’t think that writing comes easier to me than to you or anyone else. It’s always a pain.

  • Cindy D


    I got your point. Sorry I am a smart-ass. (well, i’m not really sorry about it).

    Anyhow, writing is a problem for me, in a lot more than the average ways. I have been given 42 journals to write in over my life. Some had scribbles over whatever I wrote. Some had the 1st 10 pages torn out. The rest were empty.

    I’m neurotic about writing. Trying to get over it now.

  • I’m sorry for having been so finicky. I usually don’t care whether people understand me or not. It’s different with you, perhaps. I just didn’t want you to walk away with a wrong impression. I’ll try to be more thoughtful and judicious with my comments. I’ve been way to free to express what comes to mind first, and it’s not a good thing. Tact and thoughtfulness are the better part of valor.

  • Cindy D

    That means we must be having an honest interchange. I like it.

  • Hope and Change?

    Calling Dr. Moe…Calling Dr. Larry….Calling Dr. Curly….

    Is everyone posting have some sort of medical or mental affliction….

    I dont understand how someone can have the money to pay for a computer and internet and the time to create…write…edit…and post on this site then have the balls to cry that they cant find a job!!!

    Dont worry…er….um…you know…hope and…er ….um..you know is on the way!

  • Hope and Change?

    Cindy and Roger can you please either get a hotel room or take a shower!

  • Jet

    It’s bullshit like the above that makes me glad I have control over comments on my sites. Doc… Chris… waiting for him to use enough rope to hang himself?

  • Cindy D

    H&C, you really are hilarious. I just wish I could figure out what you stand for, other than being opposed to Obama and critical of the unemployed.

  • Jet

    Cindy-please don’t encourage him… Please?

  • Cindy D

    You think it’s a him then, Jet?

  • Jet

    I’ve been ignoring him all night, which anyone here will tell you is unusual for me.

  • Jet

    The prime example is #31 Cindy-both senseless insult, and practiced sarcasm at someone whose hurting’s gleeful source of his laughter.

  • Cindy D

    Well, good night Jet. I noticed they have some different games on the BBC HHG site. I haven’t tried them yet though.

  • Cindy D

    It’s only two of the same kind of games as before.

  • Cindy/Jet,

    I just got back on this thread after 3 hours or so to discover to my pleasant surprise a great deal of humor. You’ve got to give him one thing: sometimes he comes up with a real gem – and we all need it once in a while to lighten the mood. Personally, I have no problem with him making Cindy & me an item, do you, Cindy? But you’re right, Jet, about #31.

  • Hope and Change?

    I find it interesting that there are some posters who believe that any comments and or persons not agreeing with them and/or marching the “goose step” in their ideology does not have the right to voice their opinion and are promoting censorship….

    Does anyone find it strange that the left wing of society is turning into a bunch if Nazis and or Communists?

    These are tough times if you wait for the government to save you… you will perish…

    Theres no need to fear..hope..and er um…you know is on the way!

  • Cindy D


    Nope, I don’t mind.

    I have no problem with H&C or whatever he wants to say. (sometimes I even agree with him)

    I didn’t remember JOM being so flamboyant though.

  • Hope and Change?

    Cindy…does that mean you like meeeeee….????

    Aw shucks…

    Wow real hope and change???

    (WHAT IS A JOM????)

  • Cindy D

    Oh dear H&C, how many showers can I take? lol

  • I’m probably going to regret this but…

    Hopeless @ #31: I dont understand how someone can have the money to pay for a computer and internet and the time to create…write…edit…and post on this site then have the balls to cry that they cant find a job!!!

    Do you have a job, H&C? Do you spend every second of your waking life working? Clearly not, as you’re posting comments here…

    So why do you expect someone who’s jobhunting to be doing nothing but?

    And did it occur to your brain cell that Nate might have acquired the computer before he became unemployed?

  • I think it’s a given, Doc. But perhaps he should sell it now to convert it to gas vouchers or a monthly transit pass until he lands a job. First things come first.

  • Hope and Change?

    Sorry — correction…

    Dear Doctor…..Upon further research I have uncoverned the fact that Nate is also wasting his time and money posting to his personal blog on an almost daily basis why even in his profile he describes himself as…

    “a 34 year old unemployed professional with way to much time on his hands.” hmmmmm…he brags about having too much time on his hands while complaining about the hassles of collecting unemployment…go figure! Gee how much money is he wasting being a non-productive non-income earner!

    I was in Phoenix last weekend things are REALLY tough, however for people who WANT AND ARE WILLING TO WORK there are jobs….yes fast food, gas station, night shift, etc…but please have some self respect and stop being a victim of the economy…

    If you depend on the government to turn the economy around you will perish….

    Hope and change..starts in your soul and not with a politician who thinks he can solve the worlds problems by reading a teleprompter!

  • Do you have any constructive suggestions to make H&C or do you simply like to make “witty” remarks?

  • zingzing

    i especially love “you will perish.”

    it’s so dramatic.

  • I was right…

    H&C, you really don’t understand the job market, do you?

    I too looked at Nate’s blog. He’s an unemployed professional. If he tried applying for a job flipping burgers at Michael D’s he wouldn’t even be considered. He’d have as little chance of getting the job as an 18 year old emo with no GED would have of landing a management position at IBM. Being overqualified is just as much of a handicap as being underqualified.

    I also don’t suppose you noticed the timestamps of his blog posts. Almost without exception, he publishes very early in the morning or late at night. Wonder what he’s doing the rest of the time…?

  • Hope and Change?

    Thanks for the kind words Chris..

    1. Finding a job is a full time job.

    2. Print 2,000 resumes and business cards – make it a goal to distribute all of them over the next 45 days.

    3. Contact everyone you know and tell them you are looking for work. Funny Nate posts here and doenst ask for any leads or referrals for work…makes you think that he really doesnt want to go back to work!

    4. Ask everyone you know for the names of 3 people to call about you jobe search.

    5.Ask everyone you talk to for referral to 3 people to talk to.

    6. Make it a goal to attend 2 networking events per week…chamber, open house etc.

    7. Joiun EVERY Social networking group you can find.

    8. Get up in moring by 7, take a shower, grap 75-100 resumes and hgo knock on doors…dont come home until all the resumes/cards are gone..

    9. You must believe that you get a job…by joking and bragging about being unemployed will keep you unemployed youy MUST beleive or it will not happen..

    I could go on but I would have to charge you for personal coaching.

    Gee…is this a big pile of hope and change…

  • Hope and Change?

    Doctor….are you serious “don’t understand the job market, do you?”

    The job market is not a static system…it is driven by the supply and demand curve. As an employer I want to hire overqualified people. Thats how we make money…pay someone $10 an hour to sell $100 of value…

    Your comment illustrates that you are trying to hold on to a past that will not return….wake up amd smell the Mickey D’s coffee…now is the time for people to dig deep..get their hands dirty and work! All you are doing is giving Nate more excuses and alot of negative energy that will doom his job search…

    God helps those who…you know…er helps themselves…

  • H&C,

    As an employer hiring a worker for an unskilled position it makes no difference to you how qualified the applicant is. What does make a difference is how likely the person is to drop your job like a hot potato as soon as (s)he gets a better offer. So, you hire the less-qualified individual.

    ‘Finding a job is a full-time job.’ Exactly my point. Why should a jobseeker be any less entitled to some down time than an employed person?

  • Hope and Change?

    “As an employer hiring a worker for an unskilled position it makes no difference to you how qualified the applicant is.”

    Say…what???? Have you ever had to hire anyone? Employers seek out the best hire for their investment..if I need to hire a part time telesales rep (which I am if anyone is interested) I would rather hire an unemployed stock broker vs. a someone who mows lawns….

    Doctor please reread Economics 101 from freshman year…capitalism is based upon the exploitation of labor!

  • Telesales is hardly an unskilled job, H&C. An unemployed stockbroker is, after all, a salesperson by trade.

    But you seem to want laid-off college professors and software engineers to become janitors and burger-flippers, just so that you can accuse them of being lazy when they don’t.

    Sounds a bit like the old Soviet Union if you ask me…

    I suggest you Google ‘hiring overqualified people’ and see what sort of experiences people have.

    It figures, though, that you’re an exploitative capitalist who’s in telesales. BTW, that was me who hung up on you last night.

  • Hope and Change?

    Doctor..I apologize I didnt know that a Google search said it was so…so it must er…you know…er um…be true!

    And what is wrong with being a janitor or burger flipper? If it pays the bills, puts food on the table and provides the means to survive until one finds the “perfect job” if there is truly such a thing!

    Hope and change —– is now dependent on a Google search!

  • H&C, you responded way too quickly to have actually done that Google search and/or spent any time investigating the results of it.

    Like I said before: if the evidence isn’t convenient, ignore it, eh?

  • Hope and Change?

    Doc…dont worry we will be calling you tonite, tomorrow night and the next night for the rest of your life…

    BTW we only do B2B for tech and professional services firms….calling residential is so below us..why I would rather collect unemployment and blog all day in my underwear rather that stoop so low!

  • Doc…dont worry we will be calling you tonite, tomorrow night and the next night for the rest of your life…

    Or until you land up in court because you kept calling after I requested you to stop…

  • Hope and Change?

    I specialize is calling “do not call lists” much less competition!

  • So have you filed your flightplan to Florida yet? Don’t forget to pack your parachute. The Panhandle is that bit just after you cross the Alabama state line but before you hit the Gulf Coast. Happy landings!

  • Hope and Change?

    No but I was on Flight 1549 yesterday…didnt get to far!

  • Just as well, probably. The Feds can still find you in Charlotte.

  • Jet

    #64-don’t get my hopes up like that Doc…

  • Let Hope & Change be. We need him for entertainment.

  • For the record, not only do I spend time needlessly blogging about boneheaded topics such as unemployment, I am excessively wasteful of my valuable time in other ways too. Here is a partial list of some of the things I do when I should be out looking for work:

    – Sleeping (about 8 hours/day)
    – Eating (about 2 hours/day)
    – Showering/shaving (about 30 minutes/day)
    – Making silly YouTube videos (about 30 minutes/day)
    – Spending my hard-earned unemployment check on QVC (2 hours/day)
    – Finger-painting (30 minutes/day)
    – Panhandling by the freeway (varies)
    – Volunteering in the offices of bleeding-hearted liberals in my area (1 hour/day)
    – Exercising (1 hour/day)

    Whenever possible, I use whatever remaining free time I have to mercilessly attack the American way-of-life, to deride the working man, and convince others to do whatever they can to achieve total reliance upon the government.

  • Nate, I have a feeling that ‘irony’ didn’t make it into H&C’s dictionary…

    To give him his due (sorry, Jet) I must say that his #52 actually does contain some helpful advice… although apparently only for those of us with the energy of a labrador puppy!

  • Telemarketers can provide free, innocent entertainment. Even in my former life I rarely got such calls, but when I did, I enjoyed asking quite reasonable questions which they should have been able to answer but couldn’t. Someone offering a “free” cruise in the Caribbean, for example, did not know how many life preservers the ship had on board, the makes and models or even the number of her life boats, the name and qualifications of her captain, or the religion of the chaplain. When I nevertheless expressed interest, but told her to call my guardian-in-dementia to make the arrangements, she very discourteously hung up on me before I could provide his phone number.


  • The Bob and Tom Show (I think) had a guest comedian on a while ago, one of whose party tricks was to torment telemarketers whilst taping the exchanges for posterity.

    They played one where the guy pretended he was a homicide detective at a crime scene. Starting with ‘How did you know the deceased?’ he proceeds to interrogate the poor sap on the phone as if he were a suspect and scares the crap out of him.

    I think this is the clip I’m thinking of. Apologies if it’s not – the computer I’m using doesn’t have sound.

    Anyone want to found a charity called ASPCT? Didn’t think so…

  • Cindy D


    My stomach hurts from laughing so hard. Thanks, I needed that. That is freakin hilarious!

  • My wife did this at the diner where she works the other day to a telemarketer…it just so happens that she’d seen it on some show on TV only a few nights earlier…

    After the telemarketer went through the opening spiel, she said…yeah yeah…hold on and I’ll let you talk to my brother Tony…she handed the phone to another person at the diner…and he did the same thing….and after, I think she said it was the fourth time, the telemarketer finally figured out what was going on…the really bad part was that each person said the same thing…yeah yeah, hold on I’ll let you talk to my brother Tony!

    The best part of it is that East NY accent of my wife’s…to hear her say…yeah yeah with that hard NY accent…and customers at the diner were lining up to help out!

  • When I lived in AZ about 5 and a half years ago, it was pretty easy to get that $205 a week. Didn’t help much, but it was easy to get.

  • Beebz

    Wow, too bad the conversation went awry up there. You guys just have to push the ignore button.

    Anyways, it took me 6-months to get a cent of unemployment in Arizona. I did nothing wrong, did everything in a timely manner. There were no less than four major administrative errors that glued up the works. I finally got lucky and spoke with a supervisor (she happened to answer the call center line) who got everything processed within a week, which included a telephone hearing with a judge.

    My words of wisdom… Always speak kindly to the call center people because you never know who’s answering the phone. Be persistent in following-up with your case even if that means going to a DES one-stop office (I literally cried and they put me on a private phone with a special # to the call center) or waiting on the phone for 2+ hours. That’s just how it works and you really can’t get around it, unless you’re lucky.

    BTW, I cried out of frustration, not to get special service. The DES ladies were kind to me. I was terminated from a local hospital for being out with a back injury for less than a month — I ruptured a disc turning and lifting something at home. I was terminated on 6/31/08 and, unbeknownst to me, my medical benefits also ended that day. I was unable to stand, sit, walk, etc. etc. without severe pain since the day of the injury. The injections in my back didn’t help much and I wasn’t able to afford the 3rd injection without med benefits. I have a 5-year old to keep up with whose preschool I can no longer afford. The pain has recently subsided a bit since the disc fluid has been reabsorbed by my body, a process that took several months.

  • Beebs,

    Very good suggestion. Unfortunately, BC is not equipped with “the ignore button.” I wish they had it, though.

  • oh, the irony

  • When everything else fails, what else is there?

  • C Lee

    I’m in the same situation. Was laid off in August, same as you. I’m still fighting for it. My credit cards are all maxed out, I’m living off of a friend’s charity, & there’s no food or lights in my apartment. I have no gas in my car, & I no longer have a phone.
    For everyone’s in the same situation, I wish you the best of luck & let you know you’re not alone.
    For the sake of all of us, I hope we start to see some help soon.

  • “The forgotten man” from My Man Godfrey with William Powell and Carole Lombard comes to mind.

    Another line from that movie: “The only thing that stands between a citizen and a bum is a job.”

  • sjj

    I had the same problem… until i realized i had accidentally thrown out my chase debit card that the state issued 5 weeks ago. call chase, get a new card.

  • Kari

    I think most of us laid off are in the same situation. I was laid off in Sept, but didn’t file until Nov due to a serious illness. I still have not received compensation. I look and apply almost daily for a job, but no offers. I am lucky, my husband works, it’s just not enough for a family that was a two income family. We’ve had to change our life styles in a huge way. Dropped all fitness clubs, pay channels, hair cuts, nails and started clipping coupons and keeping the heater low.

  • Hope and Change?

    C Lee….alll those tales of dispair and you still have the energy …or balls…to blog all day…hmmmm..sounds odd doesnt it

  • ‘Tis OK, Kari. You’ve got to take H&C with a grain of salt. He is our maverick.

  • That’s one word for him…

  • Allow me to be gracious, Doc. There’s something to be said for good form.