My Unemployed Life: Is 8 Percent Unemployment The 'New Normal'?

8 percent unemployment

I like to post in the numerous job seeker discussion groups on LinkedIn. I've "met" so many capable, hard-working people over there who can't find good jobs in this stagnant economy. Sharing our experiences, we understand that our situations aren't our "fault" and support each other as we navigate these rocky unemployment waters.

Just recently I've detected a hint of optimism in the discussions, a bit of an undercurrent that we shouldn't give up, that we should all "hang in there." Maybe it's my imagination, but even I have the feeling that my prolonged unemployment may be a bad dream from which -- with any luck -- I may soon wake up. But why? We've all heard the frequently-cited fact that unemployment has been at 8 percent or higher for 42 consecutive months. Coincidentally, this is just a bit shorter than the duration of the current presidential administration.

We also know that there's a presidential election just two months away.

Throughout my 32-month unemployment, I've often questioned why government bureaucrats don't try something different to help get the economy moving again.

In the beginning, perhaps you could give them the benefit of the doubt, but now, after nearly four years, it's reasonable to conclude that the policies they've pursued haven't been effective. In fact, isn't this obvious?

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So when they talk about doing more of the same for four more years, my gut instinct says no, we can't permit that to happen. Even taking the emotion out of it, a logical person has to be concerned that our economic situation may never improve if we continue with another four years of ineffective approaches. If we hope to solve these persistent problems, then I think we have to consider other solutions now.

If the current administration would acknowledge that what they've been doing hasn't worked and announce that they'll be modifying their policies, then I could understand how a rational person might be willing to give them more time. But I think they've amply demonstrated that they aren't interested in any meaningful change in direction.

The upcoming election gives us 23 million or so unemployed and underemployed people a tremendous opportunity. We may be powerless to find good jobs, but together, our voting power is enormous. We can express our collective will that we must pursue a different course.

Please note: I am not telling people how to vote in local or the presidential elections. I'm not trying to tell you to become a Democrat or a Republican. What am I saying is that we, the unemployed, can harness the power of our votes to bring change in economic policies.

If we don't, then consider this: What comes next? Will we just have to give up and accept that this is the "new normal," that we might as well get used to "the way things are"?

I will not do that.

This is not the future I want for my son and I doubt if it's the future that you want for your kids and grandkids, this chronic, miserable shortage of economic opportunities. The way I see it, it's in our hands. It's up to us to do what we can, while we can. This is our chance.

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It may be that a booming economy may happen too late to help many of us. But don't you want your legacy to be the best shot we can give our young people at a fulfilling, prosperous, secure future? I do.

So who knows? In the end, we unemployed and underemployed people may turn out to have far more power than we realize.

Or is this all just part of my dream, the delusions of someone desperately seeking a silver lining in this cloud called unemployment?

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Let's get real. You don't want a job. I read another article by you where you asked if you were crazy for tuning down a job offer. Take any job that is honorable. Networking with others just to have a big "pity party" and "understand" each other is BS. Go to work and quit complaining.

October 05 2012 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, just what are you unemployed from. I don't imagine there are very many job openings in the health communication, public communications, poet, shepherd, and prophet fields. Smarten up and train yourself in something that has job openings.

September 12 2012 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with the commenter above, you have absolutely no grasp of economy or government. Your "solution" is the problem, and if you took a little of your free time to gain some knowledge, you might have actual facts to base your decisions on, instead of regurgitating political talking points. Your republican party likes you just where you are, broke, and hopefully soon poor. Congrats on being gullible enough to put the enemy right back in office.
Does your logic tell you Obama was given a country in surplus, or one with the worst debt in history ?
Does it also tell you taxing millionaires at 10%, and middle class at 35% helps our economy ?
That small business don't create jobs ?
Please take this time off to learn, it's needed badly.

September 05 2012 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to laugh. You have a masters degree but ur analysis of current economy is it went to hell whem Obama got in. I guessing u didnt give a damn about the ecomony or unemployed people till about lets see....Jan 2010? The US ecomony has been being decimated by a long list of greedy traitorous bastards for many years & Wall street is right at the top of that list. And they unto themselves were responsible for the near killshot in 2008, so your solution is to put one of them right back in power. And since ur unemployed asked MR what hes going 2 do 4 heathcare 4 u & ur college age son.

September 05 2012 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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