The impact is not just being felt at the unemployment office, but also by local law enforcement officials. Sheriff David Taylor says high unemployment is contributing to an increase in cases of criminal domestic violence. Already this year, deputies have made nine arrests for criminal domestic abuse of a high and aggravated nature, compared to just three for the same period last year.
Domestic violence also contributes to unemployment. A felony conviction makes it more difficult for a person to find a job, which means the cycle of violence and unemployment continues.
While there is no simple solution to the problem, one local official has a suggestion.
Deborah Bishop, director of the Department of Social Services in Union County, says more people could be working if public transportation and 24/7 child care were available.
She said many DSS clients want to work but have no transportation and no one to care for their children.
Public transportation, along with day care that is available outside of the normal 8 a.m.-5 p.m. work day would enable more people to work, thus reducing the unemployment rolls, she said.
Her suggestion has another benefit — if more people could find transportation to work and/or someone to care for their children, there would be fewer opportunities for domestic violence.
Perhaps area churches could help, using their buses to transport people to work and providing child care services. They could incorporate both into their missionary field and also provide much-needed help for those who want to work.
Reducing unemployment while preventing crime — ambitious, yet achievable goals for our community.