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Unemployment and Underemployment

February 24th, 2010
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An article in Yahoo News is titled Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers underemployed.

Combine that with about 10% unemployment in the U.S. and you have about 30% of our workforce that cannot generate any, or enough, income.

I’d guess (with NOTHING to back this up, just a guess) there is another 10% who have moved from the gov’ts misleading stat of “unemployed” to whatever they move to after they run out of unemployment insurance, and we have about 40% of the population that wants to pay their own way but can’t.

I don’t know if this includes long-term, multi-generation welfare families… but I won’t even add them in since 40% is a pretty bleak number.

That is 4 out of 10 people.

What’s worse, it doesn’t include those who are UNHAPPILY EMPLOYED.

That probably covers another 50%.

Don’t ask me why people aren’t happy at work.  Maybe they don’t make enough. Maybe they don’t get the recognition they want.  Maybe they think they are destined for greater things.  Maybe they feel trapped.  Maybe their boss sucks, or their company isn’t green enough.

Maybe they wouldn’t be happy, no matter what.

But put that 50% on top of the other 40% and you have 90% of our workforce that is misused (is that a good way to put it?).

What’s the answer to unemployment and underemployment?

  • Play the “numbers game” – send more resumes… etc?
  • Find work out of state (I hear Detroit isn’t the best place to look for a job)?
  • Wait for the economy to correct itself so there are more openings?

What’s the answer to unhappily employed?

  • Look for another job?
  • Start your own business?
  • Quit and go live on a mountain?
  • suck it up, do your job, and find fullfillment outside of the office?

The answer will be different for different people, and their circumstances… I don’t know what your answer was, but I’m working my tail off on “my answer,” which you can read about in my Multiple Streams of Income posts.

Whatever the answer is, I guarantee it doesn’t include you asking to meet with your boss or HR to see how secure your job is.  I can tell you how secure it is.

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3 Comments »

3 responses to “Unemployment and Underemployment”

  1. If Yahoo’s use of the word “underemployment” is to mean that one’s income is inadequate (“underemployment” used to mean that a worker was just not working up to his or her potential, but this is the age of double-speak) then a solution that is within almost every American’s reach is to reduce consumption. In most instances, this means marginally decreasing one’s standard of living.

    Control spending. Move to a smaller house. Carpool, bike, or bus it. Make meals from scratch. Make things we have last longer by treating them carefully and keeping them clean. Vote against new government programs (which often put more people on the government’s payroll, which means that you and I pay higher taxes).

    I don’t have difficulty believing that 40% of Americans are “underemployed” in Yahoo’s sense of the word. In fact, that number should be higher because most of the country carries at least some consumer debt, which indicates that they have consumed more than they produced. Take control and turn it around.

  2. Hi, Jason,

    I agree with your post. My son-in-law is a truck driver, who is essentially “on call” at his job. He never knows from one day to the next if he will work a partial day, half day, or stay home because there is no work. He has repeatedly applied at other trucking companies, who have refused to consider hiring him “because you have work, other drivers don’t”. So even though his income is not sufficient to support his wife and two children, he has no where else to turn to increase his earnings. He takes all the extra hours offered, but even with that, he makes significantly less than two years ago.

    Added to that is the problem with his wife’ (our daughter) employment situation. She works as a professional cook at high-restaurants in Seattle. For the second time in two years, she has been laid off due to insufficient business, causing a reduction in workforce. She has to get unemployment, which currently provides $400 per month LESS than last year in Washington State.

    Neither one of them are working at less than their best, as pointed out in the comment above. And, they are doing everything possible to control and reduce expenses cutting out all the “extras” etc. It still is NOT ENOUGH, so they are now a facing serious decision about how they are going to pay bill

    Are they underemployed? YES, in EVERY sense of the word.

    Best,

    ~Kathy

  3. Jason Alba says:

    Kathy, this is sad to read! Even sadder, perhaps, is that this is soooo common!

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