Optimism could stimulate economy

RALEIGH The nation's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to its highest level in 25 years.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Labor Department show the unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent.

Figures show 651,000 Americans lost their jobs last month. February unemployment numbers for N.C. will be released at the end of the month, but no one is expecting anything different from what's happening nationally.

That's not good news for the more than 383,000 unemployed workers in North Carolina who spend their days scouring the Internet and the unemployment office hoping to find a job.

But for some, it's just par for the course.

The last time Eyewitness News saw Roy LoVerde he was sitting in a job hunting seminar at the Cary unemployment office.

He spent much of his time trying to pump up his out-of-work classmates.

"It's a cycle and we'll get through it," LoVerde said.

Eight weeks later Eyewitness News caught LoVerde returning to his home near Cary. The supply chain manager was laid off in November.

He spent Friday morning at a job interview in Wilson.

"I had an outstanding morning," LoVerde said. "So far, things are going very well. I'm very encouraged and excited about the future."

LoVerde is an optimist and believes the recession will end sooner if others will join him in spending wisely.

"We should be spending less to safeguard because things aren't safe right now," LoVerde said. "Those are exactly antagonistic to recovery. And it's gonna get worse before it gets better."

He understands that many who are out of work are scraping by and have no discretionary cash. But he says it's the other 92 percent of working Americans who have a stranglehold on their wallets and they are making the recession worse.

"Call it the lemming effect," LeVerde explained. "We've all been marched to the ledge and we were told to jump off. One jumps off and everybody in the back says, 'Oh, geez, I should probably do that too.'"

And as far as comparisons to the Great Depression, LoVerde believes there is none.

"The cycle has a little longer to go," LoVerde said. "It will turn around probably sooner than we all think. And we won't realize it until six months after it's already turned around that it has. But it will not get that bad."

Who knows? Maybe if LaVerde's philosophy catches on, it will actually work.

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