The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

On The Nevada Jobs Front, One Voice Of Hopelessness

We hear it over and over, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its jobs reports: Things out there are not getting any better for those looking for a job.

The unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent. A report from the Labor Department last week said employers stopped hiring in August. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts the unemployment rate will stay above 8 percent until 2014.

NPR's Ari Shapiro spent the last week in Nevada to survey the mood of voters in the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In Las Vegas, he came across Darren Enns, secretary and treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council, an organization that coordinates construction workers' unions.

In a lot of ways, Enns is at the confluence of the nation's jobs crisis. He's in the hardest hit city in Nevada and works in the hardest hit industry. Ari sent us this piece of tape from their conversation:

You can hear the weight Enns bears in his voice, especially when he says people have lost hope.

"You know when I say that we are upwards of 60, 70 percent unemployment in the construction industry in Las Vegas, most people maybe think I'm overexaggerating, but I'm not. I wish I were," he said.

"For the families themselves it's awful," he adds. "It's hard to sleep at night. When you really know these people by their names and you know what they're going through, and you hear the stories of people whose lives have just changed by force, not because it was something they wanted to see happen but because of the economy, they were stuck in a position that they're on a roller coaster they can't get off of, and it's tough being broke but it's even harder to not have any hope."

Ari's full story airs on this afternoon's All Things Considered, so make sure you tune in to your local NPR member station. We'll also add his story to this post, later today.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.