Thu, Aug

Unemployment is Not a Political Game

URBAN PERSPECTIVE - Unemployment on the urban and micro-level has created a gloomy and doomy atmosphere. It appears that the American Jobs Act is getting sucked into another “politics of the moment”; and the interests of the average American citizen aren’t being factored into the grand scheme of job creation and consumer confidence.

The competition of finding a job is extremely tough. Masters degree people are competing with bachelor degree people for entry or moderate level jobs. And, people with advanced degrees are hoping that the added education and experience will amount to a competitive advantage or foot-in-the-door interview over a person without one.

The job fairs hosted by a variety of groups make you wonder if 3.2 million jobs reported in July are actually available and if that number is mythical. For every job fair hosted, thousands attend and only a small fragment of people walk away with commitments to hire from employers.

Employment has become a scavenger hunt. You need all kinds of tactical methods like online job posts, search companies, social media, door-to-door, and network connections to gain insight on job prospects.

The profound effect of long-term unemployment is lost in the unemployment debate. I have friends and colleagues who are skilled and educated who have been out of employment for more than a year. Almost all have exhausted unemployment benefits and other forms of savings in order to sustain their livelihood. As their unemployment continues and critical dates loom around the corner, panic is setting in about how to secure any job regardless of status and pay.

Part of that panic is choices to forego non-essentials or payments to creditors to meet the basic needs such as housing, food, phone, and transportation. Or in worse case scenarios, they are selling prize or sentimental possessions to increase their coffers in order to stay in the potential employment game.

Don’t forget the costs. Job searching comes with expenses, such as, phone, internet, transportation, parking, paper, clothing, networking groups, and more schooling and training. On average, the estimated costs range from $200 -$400 a month. Meeting the job search financial burden is an enormous weight to carry when money is very tight.

Keeping the creditors at bay is psychologically draining. The unemployed want to meet their debt obligations and can’t. Watching the FICO score tank raises fear of future employment implications and purchasing power.

Unemployment is not a political game. The unemployed welcome any legislation proposal or recommendation by economists to open up work opportunities to move unemployment from dismal to hopeful.

(Janet Denise Ganaway-Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at jdkellyenterprises.org ) –cw

Tags: unemployment, urban, American Jobs Act

Vol 9 Issue 76
Pub: Sept 23, 2011