Jobs crisis hits disabled and other groups especially hard

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The country's unemployment rate is still stubbornly high, but for many people, it's not even accurate. A growing list of groups - new graduates, workers over 50, African Americans, and the disabled - have it much worse than the national average.

"I am honest, and outgoing. I'm intelligent," says Steve. Despite all of those qualities, he couldn't find work until Goodwill stepped in to help him as part of a program to help the disabled.

"For folks that have disabilities or documented disabilities, unemployment is much higher than anyone is aware of," says Goodwill's Diane Weekley.

"I didn't meet the standards for a lot of jobs," adds Steve.

It wasn't always that way for him, but fierce competition for even entry-level positions is altering the landscape of employment.

"You get people with education, advanced education who are willing to take entry level jobs that they're way over-qualified for," Weekly says.

It would be nice if one jobs plan really could fix the unemployment crisis, but economist John Connaughton says it can't.

"There's no magic out there," Connaughton says. "There's no secret plan that can all of a sudden generate the kind of job growth that we need over the next couple of years to close this gap. It's just not there."

Connaughton says it's not about one politician's fix vs. another.

"They're just not going to generate real substantial job growth for the next couple of years until these systemic problems work their way through the system," Connaughton says, "and we get back to banks behaving like banks and businesses behaving like businesses, and most importantly, consumers behaving like consumers."

"It's kind of upsetting, the way the economy is," says Steve. "But I've just got to be patient."