Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where are we going with unemployment?


Many people identify so completely with their work, losing a job is more than a disaster, it is a loss of identity. Statistics can identify that we have a problem with unemployment, but unless you are personally involved. Nationally, we see that in May, employment only increased in one state and decreased in 48 states and the District of Columbia. There was one state that had no change in the rate of unemployment. Michigan had the highest unemployment rate, 14.1 percent, while Nebraska and North Dakota had the lowest rates at 4.4 percent.

If you are unemployed, you are 100% unemployed, so the national and state percentages have little meaning to the individual.

It is unrealistic to compare jobless rates too far into the past, since many of the jobs measured today, did not even exist a few years ago. But even in recent years, the unemployment rate has been higher, for example, in December, 1982 it reached a high of 10.8 percent. There has also been a continued shift from farming and ranching to an almost entirely urban population trend. As with all statistics, if you look at a different source the numbers seem to change.

Again, viewing a related issue on a national level, I find it interesting that the last Federal Government budget surplus was during the Johnson presidency in 1969.

Although there seems to be a present consensus that the rising unemployment rate can be attributed to the economy, there are a lot of other factors, including the flight of jobs overseas, immigrant labor and the fact that many U.S. industries have not kept up with technological changes. However, it is important to remember Okun's Law which predicts a natural rate of unemployment.

Whatever the causes and whatever the national effects, the unemployed will continue to struggle with loss of income, loss of personal esteem and possible depression.

Next-- Where do we go for help to find a job?

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