No Deal on Sequester Will Hit Job Seekers

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, February 26 2013 at 6:32 PM, Updated: Tue, February 26 2013 at 7:35 PM

The clock is ticking and we're only a few days from the "sequester" deadline. Congress needs to come to an agreement by March 1st or risk deep budget cuts nationwide. If there's no deal, Oregon's unemployed will see funding for job search assistance programs dwindle.

Like so many others in Southern Oregon, Brittney Mcguire is looking for work.

"I just turned 18 and it's hard to get a job when you're kind of young," said Mcguire.

However, it could get even harder if lawmakers in Washington D.C. can't come to a compromise.

What the Sequester Means for Oregon's Unemployed

In Oregon, sequestration would mean a loss of about $470,000 for job assistance programs. That translates to about 16,320 fewer people getting help to find work.

"The demands for our services have never been higher. We're seeing record numbers of people," said Jim Fong, Executive Director of the Job Council in Downtown Medford.

More Unemployed Than Job Openings

Add to that in Oregon, back in the fall of 2012, for every five job seekers, one private sector job opened up. 

That 5-to-1 ratio is actually an improvement from 2011, when there were six unemployed people for every job opening. However, Oregon is still above the national numbers where there were about three job seekers for every opening in 2012.

"That's how it is and they [job seekers] all jump on it," said Mcguire.

All the competition is upping the ante for job seekers.

If There's No Deal?

But if lawmakers can't agree...

"We're obviously going to have to cut back on the availability of services in a time of great need," said Fong.

"That would be really devastating I think. I know people who this is the only place they can come...even pennies count now," said Mcguire when asked about the potential cutbacks for the Job Council.

Now the countdown continues, as cuts to job assistance programs hang in the balance.

Other job seekers told NBC 5 News they wouldn't have had success finding work and getting potential job offers were it not for the resources at the Job Council.

Whether or not all those resources remain available is to be seen come Friday...the deadline for a deal in D.C. 

Nationwide, the sequester would cut $1.2 trillion over its 10-year lifespan and $85 billion this fiscal year.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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