Inequitable distribution of unemployment hurts the entire economy, as well as the unemployed.
Underemployment, which I define as a “negative output gap for an individual,” wastes human resources and higher education, and deprives the nation of needed work through inadequately funded demand.
Well over 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed now. A person can be underemployed in terms of education as well as time. The official unemployment rate for January 2012 was 8.3%. But as Jim Edgar once said while Governor of Illinois, “If you’re unemployed, the unemployment rate is 100%.” If unemployment were distributed equally, everyone in the workforce would be unemployed for just over 4 weeks of each year. This would be tolerable, and much better for the economy.
Some experts think that even if all the available jobs were filled tomorrow, there would still be millions unemployed and underemployed. More and different education couldn’t solve this, nor could job-sharing.
Both these approaches let employers be the final arbiters of “demand.” Economists usually don’t recognize demand unless it’s backed up by money. But demand starts with people, and we need to find ways to enable people to fund their demand. Innovative entrepreneurs routinely introduce goods and services for which “demand” was previously nonexistent.
So far, all the programs and proposals from government officials rely on indirect macroeconomic stimuli, and require job-seekers to wait for help-wanted ads (even “hidden” ones) to show up. We have to break this chokehold, and link unfunded demand and job-seeking posts with money and employers before more of us are pushed off the financial cliff. The economy couldn't be grown fast enough to bring us back into jobs before then; more importantly, growth by itself provides no mechanism to end underemployment.
I, for one, have never been allowed to do a job requiring any part of my college-degreed education, or start my career. My unemployment compensation, based on a temporary, part-time, low-pay job, won’t even pay for my low-cost housing, so I can’t last until it runs out in August.
Yet I believe I could be making still-needed contributions to post-natural-disaster rebuilding and community planning. But I’ve never found a help-wanted ad for these, and can’t afford to travel to make in-person offers. My website is at http://EFTornadoSafeHome.com.
There are many different stories from unemployed and underemployed Americans. We could and should be enabled to work at our “personal best” levels, even if not always for 52 weeks per year.
Please ask Congress to seat us at the table, with speaking roles and votes, to help solve our problems, and help the entire nation this way. Please join me in signing this petition.
Jean SmilingCoyote started this petition with a single signature, and now has 81 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.