Unemployment Is a Serious Social Issue

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LAT1 Task 5 Final 8-2-11 Paul D Burns Western Governors University Unemployment is a Serious Social Issue Unemployment is the condition and extent of individuals out of work within an economy, measured by the “official” unemployment rate (U-5). This measure is the number of unemployed workers divided by the total civilian labor force. As of June the “official” unemployment rate stands at 9.2%. What is rarely reported, and even more ominous, is the underemployment rate. This rate includes two groups that are not considered in the official unemployment rate: discouraged and part-time workers (U.S. Congress, 1986, p. 12). As of June 2011 the U-6 rate stands at 16.2%. There is evidence that underemployment is pervasive in the United…show more content…
In comparison, those out of work more than two years showed extreme economic hardship, with nearly two-thirds (61%) living on less than $8,000 a year (Sales, 1995, p. 487). So we can see that those unemployed for longer periods had far fewer resources and relied much more heavily on public assistance (Sales, 1995, p. 490). In fact if unemployment stretches out to a period of 2 years or longer we see the following results: * Household savings were significantly diminished after two years of unemployment with 33% of those surveyed using this resource most heavily during the second year (Sales, 1995, p. 489) * Targeted government assistance programs for poor households (food stamps, utility assistance, and Medicaid) became mainstays for increasing numbers of households. In fact, 73% of workers jobless for more than two years were dependent on public assistance, and more than 80% received some form of assistance from one of the two means-tested poverty programs (Sales, 1995, p. 489). * Workers who qualify for means-tested government assistance programs may have much bleaker future prospects for re-employment, because they are no longer viewed as potential job candidates either by employers, their families or themselves (Sales, 1995, p. 491). Finally, part-time work comes at a significant cost to the unemployed (Wenger, 2001, p. 2). If the unemployed take a part-time job for “economic
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