Looking into the Employment Situation in the United States

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Two men sitting on a bench depicting the current unemployment situation of the US

What comes to mind when we hear the word “unemployed”? A person with no work, right? Wrong. An unemployed person is someone laid-off, fired, or simply quits – but is still looking for a job, or attempted to look for one for the past weeks. This is the kind of unemployment the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics count. So technically, if you have no job but you’re also not looking for one, you are not considered unemployed; at least, not by the American government.

Terms Used to Refer to Unemployment by the Federal Government

Just to be clearer, here are some other “terms” used by the federal government regarding employment:

  • Marginally Attached

These are people who haven’t looked for a job in a month. Also included in this category are; discouraged workers, or those who’ve given up on looking for work completely; people who have gone back to school; women who got pregnant; and/or those who have become disabled.

  • Underemployed

People who are working part-time jobs, but prefer to work full-time.
As of January 2015, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 5.7%. That is approximately 9 million people. Jobless teens are at 18.8%, men at 5.3%, and women at 5.1%. By race, unemployed Caucasians are at 4.9%; African-Americans at 10.3%; Asians at 4.0%; and lastly, Hispanics are at 6.7%.

As of December 2014, agriculture has the highest unemployment rate at 12.1%, while government employees have the lowest rate at 2.8%.

But the big question here is “What causes unemployment?” Believe it or not, it’s not just one thing. There are many factors that we have to take into consideration, but mainly they are:

  • Frictional Unemployment

This is the type of unemployment caused by the time it takes one person to switch jobs. It can pertain to a person who just lost one job and immediately tried to look for another one, and also new graduates. No matter what the economic situation of a country is, there will always be frictional unemployment because it simply takes time to find work.

  • Structural Unemployment

This can be brought upon by a mismatch of skills in the labor market. There are several things that can cause it.

    • Occupational Immobility

This is about the hardships in learning new skills that are necessary for a new industry. Example: A fisher may have a hard time getting into a high-tech industry.

    • Geographical Obstacles

This is the difficulty in moving residences for a job. Example: You might get an offer for a job in the UK, but accommodations and other living concerns may cause a problem.

    • Technological Change

There are industries, namely manufacturing, that use technology more than they do people now. This helps to save costs and increase productivity. Unfortunately for workers though, this can cause a huge fall in demand for labor.

    • Structural Change in the Economy

These are unavoidable changes that cause many laborers to lose their jobs and have a hard time adjusting to new fields.

  • Classical Unemployment

This is a pretty complex subject. But to put it simply, when real wages for workers are too high, a company can’t hire more people and pay them the same thing.

  • Voluntary Unemployment

This occurs when people choose to remain unemployed. This happens when a person is getting good benefits. They don’t work and just rely on the said benefits. And last but most definitely not the least…

  • Cyclical Unemployment

This is best known as “demand deficient.” This happens a lot during recessions when companies or businesses need to cut back on staff because productivity isn’t all that high.

So now we know why the job market isn’t easy to get into. There are many obstacles we must face, and many other job seekers we have to compete with. This is why we must always bring our A-game when applying for a position. Have the right job hunt tools ready, and make sure your resume and cover letter will show you in the best light. Tough competition for job vacancies requires the help of the best resume writers!

But remember though, if you have hard work and determination, nothing will be impossible.

Image Source: Thom Bradley from Burst

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