The NYT takes a close look at four Americans who want to be working but have given up looking for jobs because it’s too futile and depressing.
These folks, of course, are not counted in the unemployment rate, because they haven’t looked for a job recently. Instead, they’re described as “discouraged” or “marginally attached”.
If these workers were included in the official tally, the unemployment rate would be over 11%.
More importantly, the stories provide a picture of what 10+ million Americans are now going through, to one extent or another.
Some have halted their job searches out of sheer frustration. Others have decided it makes more sense to become stay-at-home fathers or mothers, or to go back to school, until the job market improves. Still others have chosen to retire for now and have begun collecting Social Security or disability benefits, for which claims have surged.
Rick Alexander, a master carpenter in Florida who has given up searching after months of effort, said the disappointment eventually became unbearable.
“When you were in high school and kept asking the head cheerleader out for a date and she kept saying no, at some point you stopped asking her,” he said. “It becomes a ‘why bother?’ scenario.”
The official jobless rate, which garners the bulk of attention from politicians and the public, was reported on Friday to have risen to 9.7 per cent in August. But to be included in that measure, which is calculated by the Bureau of labour Statistics from a monthly nationwide survey, a worker must have actively looked for a job at some point in the preceding four weeks.
Photo excerpt: New York Times