General Question

mirifique's avatar

How is it that there is a 91.9% national employment rate (in the U.S.) but it seems like everyone is getting laid off?

Asked by mirifique (1511 points ) March 12th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

It depends on where you live. In certain counties of Wisconsin, where I reside, unemployment is above 20%. One in particular had layoffs at two large auto manufacturing sites.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I should add, I’ve seen some unemployment rates in counties nationwide higher than 30%.

I’m thinking you’d HAVE to move to find a job if you lived in a county like that…or change professions completely.

AstroChuck's avatar

When you figure that 8.1% of the US population is roughly 25 million people, then it just might seem like everyone is losing their job. And we haven’t reached the bottom yet so it’s going to get worse before we start seeing employment levels start to come up again.
It’s about 10% unemployed here in California.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Astro it’s a scary thought. Isn’t it? There are now routine job interview seminars in our area, with recruiters trying to educate prospective employees on how to interview better. And, many companies are actively trying to convince people to change professions. Nurses are desperately needed in our area.

AstroChuck's avatar

Very scary. I’m just glad that I don’t work in the private sector. I’m coming up on 24 years in the USPS, so I’m okay. My wife is a special education teacher, so she’s in demand.
We don’t take our luck for granted. I really feel for people, especially those with a family and a mortgage, that are in risk of losing their job, or have already lost it. Nothing funny about not being able to provide the basics for your family.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Me too. Especially those that have worked in the auto industry since they were teens. In many of these homes in the over 20% unemployed counties, both spouses worked for GM. Now what?! All they knew was their job. It’s sad and frightening.

alive's avatar

its because the employment rate keeps going down…

Dog's avatar

@AstroChuck we are here in CA too and my spouse has taken a 40% pay cut a year ago and is now getting a demotion which is far better than a layoff. My business is still going well but demand is a bit lower for larger art. So like you we are steady and hoping that things recover before more people get laid off.

The funny thing is that I met up with my Aunt today and we both played out worst case scenarios if the economy does not turn by years end. It would be back to waiting tables or working stocking shelves. If it comes to it I am willing to take on another job if I can find one.

jrpowell's avatar

The reported rate is bullshit. I’m unemployed, I don’t count. That homeless guy outside the store, he doesn’t count.

This image is handy when you need to explain it to people. Image

jrpowell's avatar

“A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.
A depression is when you lose your job.”

HA Seems like everyone wants credit for the quote.

dynamicduo's avatar

There’s also the fact that the reported unemployment numbers do not encompass every person who is not working. The government changed the definition of unemployment a few years back so that the number would end up smaller and thus look much better. The official unemployment number represents only people who have no job completely. It does not include “discouraged workers” who are a part of a group called “marginally attached workers” persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past and others such as people who were forced back to part-time due to the economic situation. When you include all these people, the number is actually 14.8%.

laureth's avatar

It doesn’t feel like that much of a recession in Michigan. It just feels like “the usual crap.”

galileogirl's avatar

Well let’s start with 8% unemployment is significantly less tha 25 million people. 25 million people is 8% of the entire population. While 0–17 and 70–100 yos have an extremely low employment rate, they are not figured in employment statistics.

Anecdotal evidence is unreliable. If half the people you know are unemployed that doesn’t prove anything about the unemployment rate. If you live in an area with 1 major employer and they close down it may be that everyone you know is unemployed but that doesn’t prove anything nationwide. Just as the fact that I don’t personally know anyone who is unemployed doesn’t mean the employment statistics are good.

What we can look at is comparative statistics over the last 50 years. The current unemployment rate is approximately the same as 1982 (9.7%) during the Reagan administration which many Americans regard as a ‘golden era’ in our economy. In fact that figure is worse than today’s 9%+ because fewer women were in the labor market. With a greater % of women included in today’s figures and the smaller military employment we are more comparable to the 7.6% average unemployment seen all through the 80’s. That is to say, the sky wasn’t falling then and it isn’t falling now.

What did happen then was the govt tried to spend it’s way out then with military and other nonproductive and foreign investment projects while ignoring vital domestic priorities. The current plan is to create jobs here that will provide tax $$ here while maintaining the infrastructure here.

galileogirl's avatar

Note: Spending a million $$ maintaining an American highway is a much better deal than spending the same money on blowing up and then rebuilding an Iraqi road.

fireside's avatar

It looks like the four hardest hit states are: Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina and California.

loser's avatar

I think the data is about a year old.

SeventhSense's avatar

We have a population of 303,824,640 (July 2008 est.)
8.1% is a lot of people.

galileogirl's avatar

@SeventhSense 9% of workers is a lot less than 9% of the population.

AstroChuck's avatar

Not if you count sweat shops.

galileogirl's avatar

Not getting you, Chuck.

AstroChuck's avatar

Lots of people in that club.

It was a child labor joke.

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