Why Can’t I Find a Job?

Recently I have been doing research for school as to why people can’t seem to find gainful employment or employment in general. I have found a number of different reasons why people can’t seem to find work. Joblessness is sneaking into the United States as a common and mainstream trend. About 50 years ago, the ability for individuals from different backgrounds to hold and maintain a middle class standard of living was possible with little more than a high school diploma. Over the past 10 years, there has been a steady rate of unemployment in the United States with an ever increasing wage gap. Who are the people that seem unable to find a job and why can they not seem to find employment? The two prominent competing theories behind high unemployment are inadequate-aggregate-demand hypothesis, which is the lack of demand for a particular skill or service leading to low demand of that type of employment, and the rise-in-structural-unemployment, which is the lack of employment due to the lack of available jobs compared to the population of potential workers. These two theories do not take into account other variables that commonly contribute to prolonged joblessness. This literature review analyzes research from various disciplines addressing the issue of prolonged joblessness into three different characteristics: personal demographics, technological advancements, and regional limitations for employment.

One of the first things that must be done when applying for a job is to fill out an application and providing personal information. Sherry Mong and Vincent J. Roscigno discuss in their paper “African American Men and the Experience of Employment Discrimination” the difficulties and pitfalls that minorities endure when searching for employment by dealing with jobs being racialized for serving other minorities as well as commonly being offered less on-the-job training. While discrimination on various factors is illegal in the United States, there are still discriminatory strategies being observed. Long-term unemployment has been found to concentrate itself among a minority of individuals that have gone through widespread periods of unemployment. In this instance, the cyclical nature of being unemployed is causing individuals to remain unemployed and unemployable. The people that tend to fall into a trap such as this are those possessing a high school education or lower, those without job accessibility, and household size.

As I previously mentioned, technological advancements are causing more people to lose employment opportunities. It is not a secret that there has been tremendous growth in production because of robotics and automation. Andrew McAfee discussed in his TED Talk lecture that while it is great that androids and robots are doing more work and freeing up human beings from drudgery, they are also taking away jobs and income from the people that have traditionally performed those jobs and tasks. This form of outsourcing jobs is one of the biggest factors that modernization has played in the eradication of available employment. The concept of modernization was discussed by Shelly Irving who described how industrial and technological developments have created areas of economic devastation that thrived on factory and production jobs. The lack of employers in certain locations leads to the third common factor dealing with joblessness in the United States.

The final point of discussion for joblessness in the United States is the regional limitations for employment. The regional limitations refer to both employers’ inabilities to offer employment in certain parts of the state and country as well as individuals’ inability to travel to a place of employment. The job market is not the same across the country as can be noted by looking at different job fields such as technology, pharmaceutical research, coal and fossil fuels. Job accessibility is defined in “Exploring the Connections Among Job Accessibility, Employment, Income, and Auto Ownership Using Structural Equation Modeling,” as the ability of workers living in an area to access jobs in all nearby regions. The rapid growth in modernizing and robotizing production in factories lead to rapid decentralization of jobs in many American cities, especially those in the Rustbelt states.

With these three factors weaving an intricate design in the way employment possibilities fluctuate in the United States, it is easy to see that the cause of prolonged unemployment is not a simple explanation. With these variables being discussed, it is clear to see that the two prominent competing theories behind high unemployment are in serious need of revisions. It is important to note that while the unemployment rate is still remarkably low, there is still a large population that is unemployed.

One of the biggest and most important ways to fix this problem is to publicize and offer more educational opportunities to people looking for work. I am not saying that they have to have college degrees or take on that type of debt. There are many hands-on skilled labor jobs and jobs that offer on-the-job training for employees. In addition to this, there are online programs that offer free services and training from computer and tech savvy jobs. I have attached some links to the resources that I know about.

Goodwill Community Foundation

Goodwill University

Great Nonprofits

I urge those that read this to share the information to help any that you may know find employment.


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