News Column

Advice for the Long-term Unemployed

May 2, 2013

Long-term unemployment _ being jobless for more than six months _ in this bad economy has become a serious national problem. So far, though, nobody seems to know what to do about it.

The "scariest thing in the world" is long-term unemployment, says Matthew O'Brien, an associate editor at the Atlantic magazine. In this article, O'Brien says there are two labor markets now: one for people who have been out of work less than six months, and one for the long-termers. And woe be to the latter group. Then O'Brien goes through the sorry numbers to back it up. They are grim figures, for sure, and the pattern is clear _ employers discriminate against the long-term unemployed. http://bit.ly/ZMBwus

Lawmakers were no-shows, mostly, at a congressional hearing last week on the long-term-unemployment phenomenon, says this blog post at the National Journal site. Four of the 20 members of the Joint Economic Committee straggled in for the hearing. Though there were 25 competing hearings going on at the same time at the Capitol, writer Niraj Chokshi noted: "It stands to reason that lawmakers who often decry the high jobless rate would want to be seen publicly trying to tackle the problem, right? Well, apparently not." http://bit.ly/YZsgjB

Solutions offered at the hearing get an airing from Chokshi in this additional post _ perhaps for the benefit of missing lawmakers. Economic growth is probably the only effective answer. Other possibilities are tax incentives and job training. http://bit.ly/11IiFRx

How can you break out of long-term unemployment? This post on the Monster job site has suggestions. Some focus on your mental state. There's advice to get exercising to improve your health and mood, and to structure your daily schedule. Others note the need to step away from the computer for some face-to-face networking. And that word _ unemployment _ is one you may have to put out of your vocabulary if it's getting in the way in conversations or affecting your self-image. http://mnstr.me/17mL55C

For a first-person account of long-term unemployment _ with a happy ending _ read this post by Fran Hopkins at AOL Jobs. Hopkins, "50-plus" and unemployed for 34 months, says it's important to "remember you have value," to sift through all the advice you get, and consider hiring a "career coach." http://aol.it/181Ylv0

Staying afloat psychologically is also the subject of this older post at Forbes. "Isolation is a dangerous thing," because it can feed depression, says one expert. Strategies include giving in to the impulse to start your own business or taking a part-time or low-paying job that's in a field new and interesting to you. Such moves can prove delightful. http://onforb.es/11IlHFh



Source: (c) 2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by MCT Information Services


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