- Politics and Social Issues
Effects of Unemployment in the USA
In the Western world generally people have always been taught to work for a living, particularly men. When WWII came along, women entered the work force and many women chose to work rather than stay home with children. For a large percentage of families today it takes two incomes to make ends meet at this time.
In the era when I grew up I worked part-time in a department store when I was in high school as did many of my friends. My family did not have a lot of money. I remember my dad taking a second job at Christmas time so our family could enjoy Christmas. Almost all the boys worked part-time as well. Then, when we completed high school, we went to work or we went to college to train for a particular career.
Welfare was for people too ill to work, and we heard little about it during that time, even though it had been in place since the Great Depression. Unemployment figures were low, so it was not that difficult to find a job or career
How Unemployment Statistics are Determined
Now, with unemployment at such high levels, we are seeing some sad results. Currently the unemployment rate is 8.1 percent nationwide and much higher in many urban areas. Many people think that the unemployment rate is counted from those receiving unemployment benefits, but obviously those eventually run out if an individual stays unemployed.
The government cannot count each unemployed person each month as that would require a house to house visit to get an accurate count. The government actually conducts a monthly survey, which is called the Current Population Survey, to measure the extent of the number of unemployed. This method has been used since 1940 with just a few modifications. They sample 60,000 households, (covering approximately 110,000 people), which is a large sample compared to opinion surveys that typically cover 2,000 people.
Unemployment Effects on Society
So many people cannot find jobs today and it is heartbreaking for many families. Many veterans that leave the military can not find employment even though they often have good work skills.
According to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), there is an increasing correlation between unemployment and alcoholism, suicide, homicide and violent crimes. In the “Lancet Journal” of England they are finding the same results. In an empirical analysis they found that just a 3 percent jump in unemployment was associated with a 28 percent rise in deaths from alcohol abuse, plus a 4.5 percent rise in suicide.
Unemployment Effects on Society of a Poor Economy
In a study completed by the University of Miami, they concluded that binge drinking increased with a decrease in macroeconomic conditions. Therefore, even people who were employed did more binge drinking and were more like to drive after having too much to drink during a bad economy and one with rising unemployment.
In other findings, an increasing unemployment rate affected all race and age groups, with the largest binge drinking effect seen for African-Americans in the 18 to 24 age range. Oddly enough, they also found that binge drinking increased more in people with a higher educational level and income. Apparently we can conclude that everyone is affected in a poor economy in an adverse way.
Struggles - Rewards of My Life
It is possible to change the course of your life, even in difficult times, but not necessarily easy. I put myself through college with 3 sons and virtually no help from their father. Once I started working as an RN, I worked double shifts as necessary to raise my boys. They are all productive members of society today. I delivered newspapers in the mornings to make money while I was in nursing school.
We lived in a small apartment and it was hard. I did not ask the government for help and my extended family was not able to help me very much either. I had such an old beater of a car at one point and my youngest son made me drop him off a block from school so no one would see it.
I can laugh about those times now. I survived. They survived and learned to take care of themselves. I learned to save money and put money into a retirement account. I eventually remarried. When my wonderful husband of sixteen years had a stroke at age 59, we paid off our home because of our retirement savings. We do not have credit card debt. When you grow up hard, you learn to take care of yourself through those tough times.
Other Negative Effects Due to Unemployment
Beside the obvious fact that unemployment does not allow an individual enough money to live on, it also affects self esteem. Work is not only a way to make a living but it is also a social network for most people. Co-workers often become friends, so losing a job cuts off that network. This very act will push some people into isolation and they sometimes increase their alcohol intake. It creates feelings of inadequacy and it can certainly affect your relationship with loved ones. Looking for a new job daily without results can further push your self esteem down. This is true for both men and women
Working each day also provides a structure to the day and without this discipline there can be feeling of hopelessness or feelings of being a failure. It is easy to rationalize that there is no reason to get up early for work, so a person might as well stay up late at night, with a built-in excuse to drink. Drinking alcoholically is a downhill course.
Trapped in Unemployment
Obviously, our country is in trouble with high unemployment and rising prices. Food prices are expected to rise due to the drought. Gasoline will most certainly rise with our dependence on the volatile Middle East. The interest on our ballooning deficit alone is enough to make you concerned about your grandchildren paying it off.
We need jobs in this country, not more government jobs as that costs the taxpayer and does not increase the gross national product. We need mom and pop businesses and larger businesses to put people to work in this country. People need to be able to live their lives with dignity. Children should not be going to bed hungry at night.
There are many serious concerns affecting our country at this time. I wish the negative political games would stop. I would like to hear a newscast and not an editorial parading as the news. I want to hear about solutions for these serious problems.
© 2012 Pamela Oglesby