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unemployment rate
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Unemployment Rate
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Unemployment Rate

In the challenging global economy that we are in today, being unemployed has taken on a new definition and encompasses an even broader spectrum of laborers and professionals than ever before. What is even more startling is how the unemployment information that is put out for the American people from our government seems so confusing and just plain hard to believe.

In January, the US government announced that the United States Unemployment Rate (UR) had dropped to 8.3% which is the lowest rate since February/March of 2009. Since around 2002 (for those of you like me who do not monitor the unemployment rate on a regular basis) the UR has fluctuated between 4 - 6% until we hit August of 2008 when the rate was climbing drastically month to month peaking at 10.10% in August of 2009 and holding in the general area until just the last few months (data from y charts website). So other than the fact that 9 or 10 is higher than an average of 5, what does this mean to you and me? Not a whole lot if you are still unemployed and not having luck finding an appropriate position for your skill set.

What is even more confusing to me is that I have several friends that are unemployed as well (and have been for months now) and wonder what happens to those numbers as people run out of unemployment benefits or what if they were released from their job and ineligible for unemployment benefits? Did you know that this segment of individuals is simply "removed" from the numbers - WHAT? Yes, That is right, they are simply not counted in the numbers. So as our unemployment skyrocketed in late 2008 and in 2009, those individuals who have not found a job and have run out of their 99 weeks of benefits are being removed from the figures, less jobs are available and the numbers are miraculously going down. Nice.

So if we take into account all the US citizens that are currently out of work (not those just receiving benefits) the number skyrockets to approximately 17% which seems much more realistic in my small fishbowl of a network. Whether you are a Rush Limbaugh fan or not, he had an interesting discussion on his radio show on February 17, 2012 as it pertains to the unemployment rate that I find perplexing. A question came in from a caller who was confused by the UR rate and how the number is derived. Rush went on to explain that there are three levels of people that make up what most of us think about; people who are receiving unemployment benefits and are looking for work, people who have exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits and are still looking for work, and another group of people who have simply given up trying to find work or were ineligible for unemployment benefits due to the reason their were let go from their job. Only people who are currently receiving unemployment benefits are counted in the UR and this is called the U3 (8.3%) which is what the reports on the news tell us. The number that includes ALL of us unemployed people that are not collecting benefits is U6 (or about 17%). Researching this topic a little further becomes even more confusing. If the government notes that our country has "lost" jobs, then the actual UR goes down....try explaining that! Leave a comment and I will go into the details in another article.

So why do I or any of us really care about the UR if we do not have a job and are unable to find one that suits our abilities/experience? Good question that I certainly do not have an answer for. Yet I do believe that this can be an awakening experience for many of us to take our lives into our own hands. I have read many books and articles that talk about how our country had shifted during the industrial revolution from an entrepreneurial nation to a labor force subject to the whims of big business. WHY? Well that I can probably explain better from personal experience. Get a job, get married, have children, get promoted, live the American way above financial means, trapped in debt, lose the job, go bankrupt, find a new job, get promoted, lose job, financial trauma, depression, search for new job because the thought of not having a steady paycheck (that is never enough) is too daunting.....FEAR.

Fear may be an amazing motivator or force an individual to be absolutely paralyzed - a deer in headlights! So the more time that goes by from the moment of job loss the more defeated many people become (especially if you are financially strapped like me). So instead of taking this time as a gift to spend with the family, on oneself, enjoying the downtime, most people suffer and fall into a dangerous and destructive depression while attempting to find a job that does not exist. I know this because this has been my experience for the last two months (which is relatively a short time compared to the average).

I am finding the more desperate I am to find that j o b that realistically I will not enjoy and it will hardly pay the bills, the more challenging it is to find one. So do yourself a favor; enjoy your time off and take action on yourself. Spend time with your family just enjoying their company, read books or surf the internet on information that is interesting to you, find your passion! What did you used to dream about? What do you enjoy? What would you do even if they paid you zero? Maybe, just maybe, you will find something completely different to do on your own terms and the rewards will be endless!

I wish everyone much personal success and hope to see and meet more people who have found their passion! I am working on finding mine too!

More to come...


Street Talk

thanks for sharing your experience and what you've learned

Reply
  about 1 year ago
PJC ONE  

UNEMPLOYMENT TODAY IS A GLOBAL ISSUE.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
AJ  

Thank you, Michael for explaining the unemployment numbers. I knew the unemployment numbers published by the media were wrong. Thank you for researching and disclosing to us what the real numbers are. I wish you the best of luck.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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