The Obama administration has overseen the utterly preventable destruction of human capital that is arguably unprecedented in human history — and it’s their fault.
March 15, 2011 – by Tom Blumer
Those greedy employers are up to their nefarious tricks again. They’re even being overt about it.
If you’re unemployed, many of them won’t hire you. They won’t even talk to you. They don’t want you to waste your time, or theirs, filling out a job application, or submitting your resume. How absolutely awful of them.
Wrong. The “unemployed need not apply” phenomenon is an all too predictable and awful result of over two years of horribly misguided economic policy.
First, let’s acknowledge that employers are mostly acting rationally.
Especially in this economy, perhaps until recently — and that’s a big maybe — the main focus of many, if not most businesses, has been to figure out how to stay in business. In an environment where a serious hiring mistake may mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closing them, employers looking for help cannot afford to take unwarranted risks. Before they go into the hiring market, they ask themselves if the old reliables in their current crew can handle the increased workload caused by staff departures. They may also consider whether some or all of the tasks involved can be outsourced, automated, or even eliminated.
If they reluctantly conclude that they must hire someone new, company managers will go through their own internal networks of relatives, friends, and acquaintances to see if they can find someone — employed or unemployed, but largely prescreened — who is up to doing the work. They may also look at the possibility of proactively recruiting people who have impressed them in their business interactions while currently working at customers, suppliers, or competitors.
When the avenues just described come up empty, employers will let the general job market know that they are looking. It is there where the bias in favor of people who are currently employed comes out, and for several valid reasons.
If a person is already working somewhere else, they’re demonstrating that on a daily basis, not in the recent or sometimes distant past, their work habits and output are more than likely satisfactory to someone else. There’s at least a decent chance that this person has kept his or her skills sharp, and has kept up with technological and market developments in the industry. The effort involved in training such a person in their new job will often be fairly minimal. There will also be a lower likelihood that the person will flunk a background check, credit check, or their drug test.
With the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed, the situation completely flips. Work habits and attitudes, even if once great, become suspect. Skills may have eroded. On the job training efforts are more likely to be substantial, take longer to stick, and are more likely to fail. The chances that the new person will steal because of financial hardship, has gotten into legal trouble while unemployed, or has fallen into substance abuse are all greater.
Employers who are avoiding the unemployed are merely saying, “We only have so much time and energy to put into a job search, and we can’t afford to make a business mistake. So we’re going to avoid considering the unemployed to reduce the chances of making such a mistake.”
Thus we have a “jobless recovery” – if it can be called a recovery at all.
I am indeed one of the many who are “too old to retire, and too young to retire.” I am a lifelong IT professional. For many months, I have been working as a cashier, part-time, at minimum wage. I cannot earn enough to live on, and I continue to look for something better. Despite the canned spiel given during the hiring process, the cashier position is a dead-end job; there is no realistic prospect of promotions or pay raises. Even so, it is literally the ONLY job offer that I have received in over three years of diligent searching, and I accepted it instantly.
My story, and that of so many others, is here: Who are the 99ers?
What our government has done to us, by deliberately destroying one sector of the economy after another, is truly evil.
Excellently well put, and terribly depressing for anyone currently on the short end of the economic stick.
Another way of phrasing this would be: Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, a sinking tide lowers all boats…and the lowest of those boats will get beached as a result.
It is much worse than that. Not only are the lowest of those boats doomed, but also a goodly number of the other boats that have run up on heretofore unseen rocks and shoals.
It will hit many of us who did everything that we were supposed to do: living frugally, investing prudently, upgrading our skills, avoiding dissolute living habits, you name it. The only thing that we did wrong was to grow older at a desperately inopportune time.
May God have mercy on our souls.
I refuse to blame the long-term unemployed for their plight by assuming that they refused to take poorly-paying jobs before their unemployment ran out. (See Who are the 99ers?).
For the record, I DID accept the ONLY job offer I have received since February 2008, and I accepted it BEFORE the unemployment benefits ran out. Because it is only part-time and it only pays minimum wage, I actually was legally eligible to collect part of my unemployment benefit until the 99 weeks ran out. They simply told me to report exactly what I earned each week, which I did.
Oh, and by the way, I recently applied for another job for which I would have been eminently qualified. But they turned me down on account of the fact that I have not been working in the IT field since February, 2008.
No, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with my work ethic. I show up when scheduled (and also show up when called in on short notice). I follow instructions, I am honest, I am diligent about providing good customer service, I cooperate well with others – what’s not to like? But apparently everybody thinks I have forgotten the skills I spent 30 years in acquiring. They are mistaken, but I have no means of proving that.
- Nearly 30 Percent of Jobless Americans Plagued by Long-Term Unemployment — Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative Finds 3.9 Million Out of Work For at Least a Year
- Texas engineer, whose wife sent Obama his résumé, still unemployed