At Least One 99er Gets It, Finally

Michael White, 58, is one of the five million '99ers,' that is those whose unemployment benefits ran out at 99 weeks. Like too many of them, White didn't seem to get it about his marketability until the safety net was being pulled out from under him.

White's jobless story is familiar. As a television video editor, he was employed in an industry whose image is youthful. After he was laid off he kept looking to return to it and, of course, he was ignored, reports Richard Horgan in Yet the silence wasn't loud enough for him to change his career focus.

Now, White seems headed on a more productive path. He combined his knowledge of graphics with his frustration with the job market. The result has been his web site Unemployed Workers Action Group. Along the way he has been learning organizing skills, likely much as Barack Obama did in the streets of Chicago.

Currently, White is searching for a position with a nonprofit doing what he has been doing. And that's operating a website, leveraging social media, and helping people take collective action.

Question: Would White have done course correction on his job search sooner had unemployment benfits not been available for 99 weeks?