*It’s startling to know that the latest statistics from the Dept. of Labor shows that even with corporate profits growing exponentially, nearly 100,000 more Americans on net dropped out of the labor force in September. Some of this is due to natural retirement of baby boomers, but a lot of it is due to workers just giving up finding the job they want. That’s a record. And it means that the labor force participation rate has dropped to 62.7 percent, a level not seen since February 1978.
Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
Even more disturbing is that a record 12.2 million African Americans are no longer in the labor force. Why? Could be they don’t have a job or they gave up actively looking for one in the four weeks prior to the report, which was published on Friday. There are several reasons why attention should be paid to this even after so many years of record breaking unemployment in the Black community.
One thing is that if the true unemployment rate remains at depression levels, you can say goodbye to any hope of an increase in average hourly earnings.
In March, the unemployment rate for black people was 10.1 percent, that’s almost double the overall national unemployment rate, as it has been for decades. And a record high 56.1 million women were not even participating in the labor force last month. But the truly heartbreaking thing is…
People are losing hope with regard to finding work; and subsequently, a vast number of Americans have given up and are dropping out of the labor market.
This is especially true with the baby-boomer generation. People who have amassed a great deal of wisdom and skill and still have a great deal to offer have been cast aside in the workplace for a new generation of younger adults who won’t cost as much. And though attention is being paid to the fact that many baby-boomers are retiring, you’d better believe its not because they can afford to; as a lot of them are working at jobs where they are not earning a living wage. So they are forced into early retirement, where they lose a big chunk of the monthly social security payments they worked so diligently to build.
I personally know very few who retired and didn’t end up looking for a job. So when Forbes says labor force participation is actually rising for older workers, they are most likely referring to this fact.
And for many who continue to seek employment – the method of getting an interview has changed. Many employers are leaving the important search for a great candidate up to the Internet; where resumes are scanned for certain keywords and what have you. Instead of face-to-face meetings, or initial telephone intros, many people who were once able to land a job because they demonstrated a certain savvy in the interview are being overlooked because their resume wasn’t perfect. So after hours upon hours spent online custom writing cover letters and revising resumes, they never even hear from an employer.
The Ad Council actually has an innovative campaign going where they bring attention to this very issue: One ad reads (not verbatim), In searching for the perfect resume, you’ve ignored the best candidate. Another says, Give traditional hiring practices the day off. And yet another mentions how candidates have life skills that no classroom could have ever taught them.
I wonder if employers have seen these ads that have generally been on billboards and at bus stops.
Now, a new generation, more educated than its predecessors, have more and more young adults moving back home. I’ve certainly my thoughts on why, but I’ll save them for another day. And in some cases, parents have even been forced to move in with their grown children. Some are going on permanent public assistance, and others are attempting to make a living on the margins of society.
So Mr. President, you always speak of how important HOPE is. We need some now. We are losing hope in the economy. The labor market statistics have gone from bad to worse under your watch, and we need for you to FIX THIS before you leave office because we have no idea who or what will follow.