Not having a job can be frightening. Many families are in jeopardy due to lost jobs and soaring unemployment rates. The United States is a country that should have a prospering economy, but this simply isn’t the case. There are a lot of people out of work, and the numbers may be more frightening than originally believed.
Unemployment: The Real Numbers
Unemployment in the United States has left many families obtaining their shopping with food stamps, while the country attempts to recover. This past July, 6.2% of the population were reported to be out of work. That is just over 19.5 million people. You may think that this is alarming enough, but in reality, the numbers appear to be even higher.
The unemployment rate appeared to decrease slightly, but this is simply misleading. The true unemployment rate is actually double the reported figure, at 12.6%. When looking at the true value, there were groups of individuals left out.
For example, there were individuals who were considered to be ’marginally attached.’ This means that this group of individuals were available and wanting to work, but were not currently involved in the labor force. There were also individuals working part-time for economic reasons that were not included. These individuals were working part-time because their hours were cut back or they were not able to find full-time employment.
What Happened to the American Dream?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of American families do not have one single person working. When you view families as a whole, you can see how massive this issue really is. The numbers are saying that a fifth of the American population does not have one family member working. You may wonder, how are they providing the essentials for their family?
U.S. unemployment benefit applications are continually being filed, reaching numbers that are close to the average that predated the recession seen in 2007. The lives of many Americans are dramatically changing, as the poverty rates take hold. Currently, as many as 16.5 million suburban families are living beneath the poverty line.
Colorado for example, has always been viewed as an amazing place to live. Who wouldn’t love sunny days for most of the year? While being home to some of the best ski-resorts in the world. Over the past decade however, there has been a shift in suburban homes. Colorado Springs had zero residents in poverty during 2000. Now, 35% of the residents are considered to be below the poverty line. That means that families of four are making $23,492 or less.
People are not making enough to survive, let alone live a productive, happy life. In 2013, more than 47 million low-income Americans were living off food stamps in a typical month. In order to be eligible for the Food Stamp Program, the monthly income of a household needs to be at or below 130% of the poverty line (those making approximately $25,000 per year, per household).
What Can Be Done?
Unemployment strategies need to be evaluated and dramatically changed. You read about x-amount of jobs being created, but what types of jobs are these? There are many individuals that were working in highly professionals careers, that are now waiting tables. There needs to be an increase in high quality job positions.
If people are working, that is a plus of course. It’s great to have money coming in, but what about the level of satisfaction? This is not being taken into account. Workers that are forced into low quality work, will still experience financial strain, experience low satisfaction, and yield high turnover rates. How is this improving the current situation?
It is not all about increasing the unemployment rates, it’s about creating a healthy economy. A healthy economy, means a healthy future. The truth is being bent, and it’s not helping anyone. When it’s publicized that the unemployment rates have gone down, it’s encouraging. However, the recent decline is due to the number of people that dropped out of the workforce and are no longer actively looking for employment.
There also needs to be training available, allowing individuals to build their skills. Workers typically have too little education, and not enough skills to prosper in the job market. Strategies should be put in place so that employers can create and fill good jobs that encourage productive workers.
In order for communities to prosper, the rights jobs need to be available. When individuals are putting their full effort forward, providing high levels of skill, the country will see a dramatic improvement. When people are happy in their career, they’re more productive. When workers are more productive, great things are achieved.
The true unemployment rate is eye opening, and something needs to be done. The sooner, the better. Better systems need to be put into effect so that communities can rebuild. For such a wealthy country, it’s simply not acceptable. People are feeling defeated, which is feeding the issues at hand. The population needs to be encouraged, allowing individuals to grow and develop. Once individuals progress, the country as a whole will see dramatic improvements.