Detroit, was one of the largest and prosperous manufacturing cities around the globe. The Big Three automobile manufacturing companies, Ford, Chrysler, and GM jump started Detroit’s economy and made it one of the wealthiest cities in all of America. Detroit was the hub of industry and commerce in America. From the early 1900s until roughly 1950, Detroit grew by an abundance of job opportunities for people working in industry. Today, Detroit serves as a hub of poor leadership, political corruption and abandonment, crumbling automotive manufacturing, and disorganization, as crime and drugs dominate the once booming city.
Since the middle of the 20th Century, no American city has experienced the severe economic shock experienced in Detroit. Manufacturing jobs, generally secure and good-paying, constituted the metropolitan economy. Millions of jobs left, causing dire effect more broadly through the economy, as the service jobs supported by the core industries also disappeared. As industries leave, new jobs aren’t easily accessible and often require higher education levels. These spatial and skill mismatches result in skyrocketing jobless rates.
This is where I reside, Metro Detroit. Our area has been hit by punch after punch, over the last 60 years, but after this last blow it is yet to be determined if we are down for the count. The media claims our unemployment is down, however, what they are not telling you is that a great percentage have exhausted unemployment benefits. And what about those self-employed or others that, though, they worked weren’t eligible to receive unemployment compensation? Then, there can always be mention of the welfare statistics, and foreclosure rates. All I’m saying is this is what depression looks like. When you get away from all the numbers and statistics, there are real communities, real lives of real people who are being affected by this.
My household was far from immune to the effects of the recession. Falling from upper middle class to near poverty, as jobs were lost and the unions took concessions. Our annual income cut by almost two-thirds for the same job classification. We were forced to sell off what we owned to pay bills. What we had financed we lost to bankruptcy last week. We’ve been reaching out to community resources just to keep food in the cupboard. Our budget only revealing enough for the basic bills; with no allowable expenditure for food, gasoline, savings, medical, nor emergencies. We’ve been denied state assistance and no longer have credit cards to fall back on. From living to merely existing has become our reality; reflecting Detroit’s very image of once thriving to sparsely surviving.
We have looked to other areas, and even states, in search of something more sustainable to no avail. With no easy way out, and despite my spinal injuries & other health issues, I’m taking on a minimal paying, work from home, job for the summer. My husband, a career CDL-A driver specializing in automotive logistics, still searches for a permanent position. As, we just continue living on little more than a hope and a prayer, in the place we call home.