Even though the new unemployment numbers are a smidge better than expected, joblessness is still a growing problem. If you’re one of those unlucky folks, what’s the best way to get out of debt? It’s a job, of course — if there are any still out there.
But even if you find that rare bird, bad credit could keep you unemployed. As The New York Times reports, more employers are checking the credit scores of applicants, which can keep them jobless:
“Once reserved for government jobs or payroll positions that could involve significant sums of money, credit checks are now fast, cheap and used for all manner of work. Employers, often winnowing a big pool of job applicants in days of nearly 10 per cent unemployment, view the credit check as a valuable tool for assessing someone’s judgment.
But job counselors worry that the practice of shunning those with poor credit may be unfair and trap the unemployed — who may be battling foreclosure, living off credit cards and confronting personal bankruptcy — in a financial death spiral: the worse their debts, the harder it is to get a job to pay them off.”
Employers say it’s a good way of picking out possible red flags in an otherwise promising-looking employee. But this continued belief in the existing credit-check infrastructure seems stupidly pro-cyclical. In the boomtimes, everyone looked like a great credit risk. Now at this point, everyone looks suspect. Maybe it’s time to put some more though thought into how we measure an individual’s creditworthiness.
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