The perils of long-term unemployment

October 2, 2009

Alarming as the climb in unemployment is, the growing duration of joblessness is more worrying still.

America’s army of long-term unemployed — those without work for six months or more — swelled to 5.4 million, according to today’s figures. This is roughly equal to the combined populations of Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. (For the internationally minded, it is slightly more than the population of Finland.)

More and more workers are exhausting benefits. As of the start of this month around 400,000 stopped receiving assistance. Another 1.3 million will use up their entitlement before the end of the year.

This calls for stronger action from the federal government.

A further extension of jobless benefits is now critical. These have already been stretched out to an unprecedented 79 weeks in some states with high unemployment. Congress should now press ahead with plans for an additional 13 weeks.

In addition to preventing large numbers falling into poverty, this is among the best forms of fiscal stimulus. Money given to the unemployed is almost certain to be spent quickly.

A recent survey for the National Employment Law Project found that 67 percent of unemployed adults had cut back on basics like food and groceries. Almost half had fallen behind with rent payments and a third had been forced to move in with friends or family.

No other form of government spending delivers such an immediate sugar rush to the economy. Unlike the cash for clunkers program, it is not merely stealing consumption from the future.

Still, there is a danger in such a stimulus. Allowing Americans the luxury of being pickier about which job they choose can have costs.

When it comes to unemployment, time matters. Skills atrophy after extended periods without work. Then, when growth picks up, these workers are no longer in a position to fill new jobs.

A slew of academic papers suggest that a quick return to the workforce — even in a humbler capacity — is often a good idea, especially for the young. Research by Tom Mroz at Clemson University showed that a six-month spell of unemployment at the age of 22 reduced wages even a decade later.

So the extra spending on unemployment benefit needs to be combined with much more assistance with job searching and retraining. According to the OECD, U.S. funding for retraining and job searching has risen by less than 20 percent during the crisis.

Failure to do more to retool the long-term unemployed will create lingering problems for the U.S. economy. Extending benefits is an important first step, but it is not enough to ensure that the administration’s stimulus is effective. For the more Americans are permanently dislocated from the workforce, the less robust any recovery will be.


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Christopher,I was just speaking yesterday downtown Clemson with professors and PhD students. I asked about any research regarding the unemployment rate of the graduated students from Clemson University without any successful answer. I’m glad you mentioned the research by Tom Mroz. Long term unemployment impacts the students at very different levels. In my opinion, the three major problems for them are difficult finances, less self-confidence and difficulty to position them when growth picks up.Marc.

Posted by Marc | Report as abusive

Pres. Bush already extended unemployment benefits. NO! to more. It’s not Constitutional to give money away for benevolent causes. This isn’t Holland, Sweden, or Finland.

Posted by Tony Harkin | Report as abusive

How about providing some scientific evidence of how the skills of the unemployed supposedly atrophy before you make this unfounded and damaging assertion in print?

Posted by Stephen Liss | Report as abusive

I don’t think the time should be extended for unemployment checks–what about the rest of the people that are out of work, but don’t qualify for unemployment? what are we going to do for them??

Posted by helen l | Report as abusive

Excellent analysis of the situation. Wish the federal govt also manages to keep a trade-off balance between the unemployment benefits and job search assistance.

Posted by Deeds | Report as abusive

I am no fan of some of the federal stimulus execution so far. I think CARS was a lousy idea, I think the Detroit bailout will prove to be largely a waste, and was ready to roll my eyes at this suggestion, too. My knee-jerk thinking is to not push us even farther into a deficit situation. I have to say, social value aside, the argument that this would be injected right back into the economy makes really good sense.

Posted by resident | Report as abusive

I think that every person who is receiving unemployment money needs to provide proof that they are seriously seeking employment and/or are attending training to be employed. This is where the government can create jobs (teachers/trainers)and benefit those in need.

Posted by Lloyd Francis | Report as abusive

Unemployment reaches new high and all you want is even more government?Let’s see, according to well-established American economic ideology, the less government the better. The less taxes paid, the faster the economy grow, the more well off everybody is. Not only that, anything the government does is fundamentally inefficient, wasteful, wrong, even evil!!So now, when the magic of private enterprise is a little less magical, everybody wants the big bad government to save them.How? Government does not create business, jobs or invent things. All it does is to take money from one hand and give to another. That ‘another’, of course, include itself.I’d take this crazy idea of government somehow can reduce unemployment and bounce it off to the grand captains of capitalism. And if they have any value, they’d say “Leave government out of it. We, the CEO, will create jobs!!!!” And they did, in Mexico, China, Vietnam, …

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive

Not to mention the probability of increased social and political unrest. When there are millions of people with nothing to do and time on their hands, their hands find rocks to throw, and their minds are susceptible to dangerous thinking demogogue’s…….

Posted by Edgy | Report as abusive

If the society which has for decades tolerated the erosion, the hollowing out, the destruction of the lower rungs of the middle and working classes as wealth has been concentrated in increasingly fewer hands which have, in turn, made catastrophically poor decisions resulting in a gathering economic implosion is to survive in any sense intact it is vitally important to temporize while vigorously restructuring.To date we are dithering and spinning illusions of an impending return to the past – things as they were.That is not going to happen, and at some level most of us know it.Yes, unemployment needs to be extended.Yes, steps need to be taken to expand education and raise skill levels.Yes, education is desperately in need of real reform.Yes, health care needs reform.Yes, financial structures need radical reform.The needs and the challenges are clear.Yet we dither, point fingers, squabble over short term positioning, imagine that the magic of the markets or the hand of the Divine will save us from our own shortcomings.It would be nice if America would grow up, and deal.Whether or not that happens is very much an open question.Whether or not this is seen in retrospect as a challenge addressed or the slow, lazy decline and dissolution of the American empire and American triumphalism depends on the answer.

Posted by arc tenebrous | Report as abusive

This is a well written commentary regarding unemployment and stimulus and I generally agree with what the author is saying. But, I would like to comment on this part: “Unlike the cash for clunkers program, it is not merely stealing consumption from the future.”There was no stealing consumption from the future with this program. Since “stealing” seems to be a popular word regarding this program, I would turn it around and say that the current economy is stealing consumption from the present, and the program merely restored some of this consumption.Let’s say Jim typically keeps his car for 7 years and in 2009 Jim’s car is 7 years old, but Jim can’t get a good trade-in value for his clunker. So, Jim decides to hold on to the car for 9 years. Jim will then buy another car and keep the new car for 7 years.So, with no program Jim buys cars in 2011 and 2018.Enter the program. Jim buys a car in 2009, because he gets a good trade-in value. Does this mean Jim won’t replace the new car in 7 years? No, Jim will stick with his buying pattern and try to replace that car in 7 years.So, with the program Jim buys cars in 2009 and 2016.The program simply pulls consumption forward and results in a net increase of consumption. While there are better ways to provide stimulus, the program certainly did provide real stimulus.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive

For short-term gain, employers lay-off employees to show Wall Street they are cutting costs and Wall Street rewards them, but by using that logic, weakening demand and more lay-offs follow in a vicious cycle.

Posted by scott | Report as abusive

More assistance in job searching and training is completely useless when there simply are any jobs. At best those that search the hardest will get the few jobs that are out but the end result is the same. The only up side is those who assist in searching and training will have jobs.

Posted by Tom C. | Report as abusive

I couldn’t agree more. What we need is a directive form the governement that prevents employers from firing current workers and requires them to hire new ones. We could start by requiring reuters to hire another journalist to work beside Mr. Swann. Mr. Swann could take a pay cut in the form of a “employ the unemployed” tax which would pay the new workers salary. This is in effect what would happen if the government steps in except Mr. Swann wouldn’t get an assistant and would end up taking home less end of year for the same ammount of work. Be careful what you wish for. Governments tax people, businesses employ them.

Posted by buddy | Report as abusive

This picture has been unfolding for a long time. The government has been the advocate of shipping jobs overseas and has opened our borders to substandard product imports. It will take some planning and some effort to get the manufacturing industry restarted in the country. We also will have to take a realistic look at the climate change thing as the scare tactics have driven many manufacturers out of the country. Providing work and healthcare for our citizens is a necessity and not an option. Time for the Republican party to get real or just be a memory.

Posted by f belz | Report as abusive

Ever try to purchase something NOT manufactured in China in the past decade?

Posted by LRP | Report as abusive

The unemployed “spend the money quickly” because they are desperate and the amount one receives is not enough to cover even a portion of one’s everyday expenses. Unemployment insurance provides no “SUGAR RUSH” to the economy as the money is spent on basic neccessities. No one collecting an unemployment check is going out and purchasing a new house or a new car. When I collected benifits the money was not even close to enough to live on. Also, you must pay income taxes on unemployment money received. Unemployment checks do not go very far at all. Have YOU ever collected ? Have YOU ever stood in a really long line to apply for a job that you and maybe a hundred others in the line needed ? After a while the situation wears a person down. Many of us will never again earn the kind of incomes we were earning before the crash. Tell me would you pleasse – with so many of us hurting financially where is the “SO CALLED” economic recovery going to come from?

Posted by Jim D. | Report as abusive

I would also add that for the most part JOB RETRAINING is a joke ! I went through this in 1991 and I qualified for the maximum amount. It was a wopping $1,200.00 . They wanted everyone to learn to weld or become a nurse’s aid. I was earning 80k before I became unemployed – $8.00 per hour just wouldn’t cut it – no matter if I could have worked one hundred hours per week. I dare say that unless the USA comes up with some new industry that can employ thousands and thousands this situation will be with us for a long long time.

Posted by Jim D. | Report as abusive

Retrain workers..great idea, but for what? What job exactly do you think can’t or won’t be shipped overseas? How many jobs now pay enough to live on, and even these will pay less or shrink in the future. We need a new paradgim, not more of the same old same old.

Posted by KLD | Report as abusive

Pretty soon the only job openings available will be for mercenaries in our glorious world-conquering armed forces.

Posted by Jose R. Pardinas | Report as abusive

This glum news is dishearthening, I think extending the benefits has its benefits, however what happens after the extra extension? This dependency is not healthy. I think the job market is dim for people wanting to work for someone else. It would be better for americans to create their own jobs and focus on becoming self-employed, this way the pressure of creating jobs for the government is less. The government must offer loan programs for people to start their own businesses, this would stimulate the economy, and stimulate americas growth. There is a old saying if you feed a person they will depend on you, but if you give them tools, they can grow their own food and not depend on you. My recommendation is to eliminate unemployment by creating opportunities for Americans to run their own businesses.

Posted by Unemploy | Report as abusive

Many Americans are stuck working part time jobs trying their hardest to find additional employment as their pre-recession jobs have disappeared . They many not be unemployed but perhaps “underemployed”. So much of the stimulus we have seen has focused on big business, homeowners, and those with extensive credit card debt. My question is where is the stimulus for the average working person who lives in an apartment but is falling behind? What about those Americans who choose not to buy things we cannot afford on credit? We put so much into the economy as most everything we make goes back into the system in the form of utilities, rent and food.As much as I appreciate your input on extending benefits to those not able to find employment or perhaps not willing to settle for lesser (perhaps part-time menial) jobs – what about those who struggle and try everyday with “any job available” to find a glimmer of hope only to find out that big business gets massive bailouts, those who ran up credit debt get bailed out, and others are blessed with assistance at keeping homes they never could have afforded in the first place?Where is the bail out or stimulus for the rest of us?

Posted by Lawrence | Report as abusive

Re-train for WHAT job?Even my US tax preparation is being outsourced to India.Job skills do not atrophy nearly as fast as the article suggests. Give my company the same tax incentives less regulation that other countries are offering and my job would have stayed here.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

The extension should be done, but it is not like a stimulus. If someone cuts back on food or rent due to unemployment and is then given government money to go back to normal spending that is not stimulus: that is basic survival. Stimulus is when you buy over and above the basics to survive.By extending unemployment benefit the government may be preventing/delaying riots, social unrest or whatever, but it is not stimulating consumption unless the US benefit system has suddenly become extremely generous.

Posted by D Rumsfeld | Report as abusive

Long term unemployment is like a cancer on the body of a country or region. Little known stories of the Depression, especially in the midsection of the country relate food riots (yes, food riots in America) windowns being broken in front of police so men could get a meal and a night’s sleep on a jail bed. If people worry about the radical left and reactionary right, just let the unemployment fester. You’ll see those with simple answers come out from under the rocks and rotten wood. It happened in 1935 and it CAN happen again. Do nothing and we will see a country we will not like.

Posted by Dick Diamond | Report as abusive

Congress saw this coming a long time ago and is still deliberating on what should be an immediate response to those in need. These extensions should be six months in duration, not weeks. They don’t even consider how long it takes with each break in funding for the unemployed to get a check once legislation is passed. A month or more. It has to go before the Dept. of Labor in each state, then EDD must first send notice that you’re eligible, then you have to wait for the claim form, then once you send in the filled out claim form, it’s another week or more before the first check. The law should be changed where if a state goes over a certain unemployment percentage, then an extension is automatic,without requiring any Congressional action.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

[…] Reuters Columns » Blog Archive » The perils of long-term unemployment | Blogs |. […]

Posted by The perils of long-term unemployment « Life at the speed limit… | Report as abusive

Dear Friends,The solution to 5.4 million unemployed US citizens is,US must study the employment related policies of India and China the only two countries in the world , least affected in recent slowdown .Years of easy credit and high wages are over for US based workers. They will have to work harder to compete and even for survival. Even their currency USD will lose its value in very near future. Cost of living will shoot up , chaos in the streets for basic needs like food, water , energy, healthcare etc. is ultimate destination and to avoid it, there is no alternative to HARD WORK.Railway network development, construction of watre storage reservoirs, Farming can create JOB OPPORTUNITIES in the USA.Many thoughts come to mind but will post later.warm regardsVipul Lashkari

Posted by VIPUL LASHKARI | Report as abusive

I have been unemployed for 17 months. I am well educated, experience and still cannot find employment either in my area of the country or anywhere else. Next month I loose my health insurance (that I have been paying $860/month for), then the real fun starts. If the recession is over, then I am a billionaire on vacation waiting to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Anyone who really thinks unemployed people are lazy and don’t want to work, has not walked in my shoes of the endless job submissions, interviews and disappointments. Perhaps if Senators, Congressmen and right-wing radio jockeys were unemployed for a while, they would get it.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Welcome to free enterprise and global economics.There was a time in this country were we produced Jeans, only here and sold them around the world. We produced Coke and Pepsi, Hershey Chocolate, sold world wide.We still produce these products, they just aren’t made in the US anymore. The stocks are doing well because the profit margins look good, quarter after quarter, and CEO’s continue to pull down very handsome pay.We have very little that is produced in the US for the Global Market, that any other country wants to buy from us..too it from China instead..the spiral into a third world country continues for 95% of it’s people.

Posted by Robbie | Report as abusive

Well so much for the “Hope and Change”. Amazing how the American media continues to idolize the Bamster with all his failures. Pathetic.

Posted by Felipe de San Jose | Report as abusive

“Unlike the cash for clunkers program, it is not merely stealing consumption from the future.”This is a clever lie. The government cannot give you anything that it has not already taken. The government produces no wealth but rather takes it from individuals and redistributes it. 100 dollars paid out through social welfare programs is 100 dollars taken from working class people and business men. That’s a simplistic way of stating it though. No one has a good accounting of how much money the government wastes in bureaucracy on running these social welfare programs. Have you ever heard anyone rave about the efficiency of government or its workers? I didn’t think so. It may be more like $100 paid into the system results in $70 paid out. Why not let people keep their money and get rid of the big government bureaucracy? It boils down to power and votes.One might argue that a majority of taxes come from the rich so it is fair to tax them. I won’t get into why this is morally unjust. I will however point out that a simple yet often unseen truth. If big companies and investors find it not as profitable to do whatever it is they do, they turn to job cuts and price increases. It’s absolutely insane to believe that a corporation would just say “Darn it. We aren’t as profitable this year.” They will raise prices and cut the work force! This ultimately affects the very people the “tax the rich to give to the poor” politicians’ claim they want to help. The sad part though is that the average Joe on the street doesn’t understand this. No one hears about the job opportunity that never was. People do see price increases but who do they blame, the company. All the while forgetting that their economic plight in life is due to people like the author of this article and proponents of big government (Clinton/Bush/Obama/Greenspan/Bernanke). More and more American’s are waking up though. Soon they will stand up. There is hope. Peter Schiff 2010

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

You are right in what you’re saying but consider two major obstacles:The banks who control the money and the Congress.The jobs lost, were exported to China and elswhere, and they don’t come back.With capital frozen or dried up by the banks, the bailouts and so on, and unable to compete with the cheap Chinese, how do you restart the recovery and for how long will it last?

Posted by Florin Milea | Report as abusive

This is getting to be just like the Jimmy Carter years, in the late ’70’s. All we need to make it complete is gas shortages, and the President going on TV to tell us that we need to “get used to it”, like Jimmy Carter did.

Posted by Sternberg | Report as abusive

[…] The perils of long-term unemployment – Reuters […]

Posted by Saturday Morning « the news links | Report as abusive

By the time the economy gets better, people who had good jobs and are over 50 will have a hard time getting jobs. It is time government steps back and reevaluates their outrageous spending habits. More taxes will not be the solution. You cannot spend money you do not have. Eliminating all the pork programs, automatic pay increases for representatives, senators and president would make funds available to spur the average American citizen to have confidence in the American democracy at work the way it should be governed.

Posted by Evelyn George | Report as abusive

Another 13 weeks of unemployment benefits will stimulate nothing. This money will be spent on necessities, food, rent, gas money, etc. It will not boost purchase of big ticket items at all.

Posted by lagonzal | Report as abusive

This article hit the nail on the head.

Posted by James Orr | Report as abusive

It should be obvious that 20+ years of exporting good high-wage jobs out of the US to other places has had a corrosive effect on the US workforce. When will the citizenry get angry enough to demand that this be reversed? When will the US have a Congress that is willing and able to craft the needed legislation? If not now, when?

Posted by Steve Numero Uno | Report as abusive

I’ve met a lot of unemployed people who don’t go out and look for work (or even try to figure out ways to earn money). They simply sit on their butts and watch TV and drink or do drugs to pass the time. My next door neighbor has been doing this for a year and a half now. Giving them more money is simply a ticket to be lazy. Necessity is the mother of invention. When you have a gun to your head and you MUST act or risk losing everything then you’ll come up with some pretty creative solutions. But, if you have a guaranteed government check coming in then why bother? You can just use the money to buy more beer and dope. I think that there needs to be mandatory drug testing and minimum quotas for job seeking. You shouldn’t be able to submit a few resumes and then collect your check. And, if you get caught taking drugs then you should instantly have your benefits revoked (and be required to pay the taxpayers back all the money you took from them).

Posted by Ted | Report as abusive

I am one of the long-term unemployed, I was laid off from my quality engineer job in November of 2008, my unemployment benefits ran out a month ago, I send out an average of 13 resumes a week, and over the pass year I have not heard from a single company, not one interview. I believe time is working against me by potential employers wondering why I have been out of work for so long, or maybe i’m getting paranoid, I live in an area that has a high number of jobs in the medical field and at 40 years of age I find myself going back to school and changing careers.

Posted by Charlie | Report as abusive

[…] Source: 2009/10/02/the-perils-of-long-term-unemp loyment/   […]

Posted by The perils of long-term unemployment « Pkrf1end’s Blog | Report as abusive

The problem is the government did not tie investment in new business to the loans it gave out to the Banking industry. therefore the banks being the big dragons they’ve become are hording the loot.They are only interested in profit, to the detrement of the many. The Rich and powerful elite, republicans and democrats alike are but a fraction of the population yet hold most (90%) of the wealth. They think they can afford to wait for good times, sit on their big fat wallets and bide their time. Well at least thats what they think. they think through the use of media they can wage a propaganda war from both sides that the masses will buy forever. To paraphrase Nero said ,give them bread and circus’s, well the bread and circus’s will not last forever. What are you gonna a do when the masses come for you and your children. Do you think the military will protect you, as the french aristocrasy was protected during the french revolution. Remember bastille day, or relive it, with your heads in a basket. The bottom of the hour glass is filling fast.Signed Casandra

Posted by Casandra | Report as abusive

Long term unemployment also adds to a black market economy that the government can’t touch in terms of taxation. Canada is a good example. The black market economy includes stolen goods, drugs, smuggling amongst other growth industries…

Posted by abm | Report as abusive

Being one of the unemployed I am reluctant about getting the feds involved. Many of my associates are also unemployed and are not even looking for work. Their reasoning is why should they take a lesser paying job when with taxes taken out, fuel expenses, childcare expenses etc., they’ll end up with less than just taking the unemployment check? Unemployment is a safety net but has also become an enabling device for many. On the flip side, however, there are very few jobs out there. I know I have applied for over 100 jobs in 6 months with only 1 interview. When you go to the job sites there looks like there are jobs, but 9.9 times out of 10 you never hear a peep (thus those that have stopped looking altogether). So since employers aren’t hiring, unemployment does give a safety net. This economy all comes down to 1 thing – confidence. This is non-existent and until employers start feeling confident this is going to continue and get worse over time.

Posted by Alibali | Report as abusive

[…] – Christopher Swan […]

Posted by The perils of long term unemployment « The Observations of a Dentist in a MBA Program | Report as abusive

1. Mr. Swan, it is time for a National Employment Act similiar to the actions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The immediate incorporation and partnerships of situational employers and unions is the first order of business. A national modernization plan of cities will enable the hardcore unemployed to find work opportunities as our own economy evolves into a job creation posture. The New Deal is the simplified model for job creationism.2. However, more importantly, a National Vocational Education and Job Training Act for 2009 is another project to produce work for the employed. The transformation of a Green Economy will not be realized without rearming and retooling the American Workforce. The Green Economy is a people capitalized investment. The real stimulus package is an investment in your people. If you invest people, they will build a pyramid of prosperity. Amen!!!Antonio the Sun

Posted by Antonio Ivan Easterling | Report as abusive

[…] Source: 2009/10/02/the-perils-of-long-term-unemp loyment/ […]

Posted by – Blog » Blog Archive » The perils of long-term unemployment | Report as abusive

Long-term unemployed is a serious growing problem. These people exhaust their resources and become depressed, angry, and desperate. Who can blame them, especially those with families. The unemployment problem facing our nation is growing into a critical problem with no solution in sight for over 12 months. Somehow these people are going to find one-another and unite to express their outrage and when they do it will make the “tea parties” and town hall outbursts over health care look tame. It’s going to be a cold winter!

Posted by Bob Ritter | Report as abusive

This excellent report by Mr. Swann focuses on the short term. Long term high employment rates require a different approach. Our national personal income levels must fall until our labor becomes more cost competitive in the global marketplace. Our exports must once again match or exceed imports and that can only be done by offering goods and services at more competitive prices.

Posted by Marvin McConoughey | Report as abusive

I am one of those long term unemployed. With degrees in two different subject areas,I have been looking for work for 24 months. Finally found a job at minimum wage andin an area I know nothing about. Not the only one. This depression has nothing to do with education.

Posted by George Atkins | Report as abusive

I am definitely among the long-term unemployed. It was 7 years this past September 30. I am 42, educated, with a BA in an in-demand social science from one of the best Big 10 universities, a masters degree in a hard-core social-science-related discipline from a great Pac 10 university, and about 9 years of post-graduate work experience, including work at two nationally-known research institutions. My career track derailed 7 years ago when my contract ended.In the years since, I have interviewed for a number of different jobs, in the private and public sectors, and have qualified to be on job lists for high-level research positions with my state, my County, and my City, and have been found qualified for high-level six-figure positions with the federal government, but for one reason or another, have been unable as of yet to land a position, in some cases because I apparently wasn’t the very best candidate, and in other cases, the job lists exist, but the jobs themselves never seem to become available. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will work again.I am also beginning to wonder what I did wrong, and how in the world it could have come to this. I thought I did everything that they told us to do…stay in school, do well in high school to get into a good college on a partial scholarship, get through college, go to grad school somewhere, then find a position somewhere… Apparently, that’s not enough these days, with the competition as severe as it has ever been, you almost need an “in” somewhere with someone, above and beyond the credentials and everything else.Each day I surf the internets and put out the resumes for positions which I am either well-qualified, over-qualified or possibly qualified, and the responses these days are fewer and far between than they ever were… but thank God the phone still does ring from time to time.I’m not ready to bag my educational background and work experience and start over from scratch…..and I’m not looking to dumb-down my CV either… but at this point, I don’t know what else to do or where else to turn.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

I am almost 40. I have a BS in mechanical engineering, an MS in environmental engineering (ivy league school), and an MBA (just completed in one year). I worked as a civil engineer as well and I am a professional engineer in two states. I tried to change careers to finance during the MBA but the finance jobs are now being done by accountants. Changing careers (even for lesser pay) is almost impossible. I cannot get a job interview to save the life of me. Even walmart and macy’s turn me down for employment (even when I only put my HS only and omit my college degrees). I found and adjunct position to teach math for 5 weeks ending in January and then I will have to wait until April to get another class. This sucks and I do not see end in sight. My savings are dwindling down plus the lost income of over 120k puts a dent on my retirement.

I grew up led to believe that a college education and a master degree will secure me employment. Then outsourcing happened and engineers were not prepared for it because of the poor business education we receive. I also grew up led to believe the gen x’s would be promoted to take the jobs of the baby boomers. Baby boomers did not retire and gen x’s will pay the piper when the promotions go to the millenials.

Networking, networking networking… Has not worked…

However, I do realize that most jobs lost during the recession will never come back no matter what politicians say. Come 1/1/2012 I will become a consultant. I have no other choice. Sometimes hate is really a good motivator.

I want to wish the chronically unemployed my warm regards and most sincere luck. It is tough to stay positive but there is always a way. Do realize, competition is tough nationally and internationally.

PS. Something funny. I was turned down for a job in marketing/social media for obvious reasons. The human resources person was friending me on Facebook afterwards. WTF.

Posted by Smarkethacker | Report as abusive