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Joseph Thielen
Cindy Rogers
English 12
October 16, 2014

Unemployment in the United States


Unemployment in the United States over the past centuries has fluctuated from times of
great prosperity to times of great depression. This research paper will explore who the United
States Labor force is made of, the causes of unemployment in the United States and the affects
it has on individuals. The United States government tries to predict the future of
unemployment. They are faced with so many variables it is difficult to predict. Most of the
time, we are left with much rosier statistics than the actual true statistics of unemployment.
The United States Labor Force
The definition of the United States Labor force or workforce is the number of people
employed and self-employed plus those unemployed but ready and able to work the grand
total is sometimes known as the economically active population. This is difficult to measure.
(Bloomberg), In addition to the number of people in the labor force, there are categories or
types of people in the labor force. The most common are college graduates and young adults,
middle age and older, seasonal employees and Immigrant workers. Each of these categories

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are also analyzed to determine trends in unemployment. Studies have shown that especially in
middle age and older people in the labor force that the longer people stay out of work the
likelier they are to suffer the scarring effects of unemployment that can hurt their earnings
permanently and create a cycle of instability. (Baker) What this means is the longer a middle
class or older labor force person is out of work the harder it is for them to find work.
Employers wonder why no one has hired them, or the person becomes complacent that they
will never find a job.
A lot of young people and recent college graduates in the work force are not employed.
The OECD an intergovernmental think tank courts 26 million young people in the rich world as
NEETS not in employment education or training. (The Economist) This means that young
people are not in school, employed or in a vocational training program. This is a real problem
and it does not reflex correctly in the unemployment rates reported.
Seasonal employees may work at holiday shops and department stores only during the
peak time of shopping. They may also work vacation spots during the peak times for
vacationers to visit. This makes the unemployment statistics vary depending just on the time of
year. Immigrant workers also make the statistics vary because they are not being reported as
working or as part of the labor force if they are not documented. Seasonal workers, immigrant
workers, workers who just stop looking for a job and young people who have not been
documented because they have never held a job can make tracking the unemployment rate
difficult.

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Causes of Unemployment in the United States


There are many different variables in the economy that cause unemployment to change
in the United States. The five variables I would like to share are new technology, immigrant
workers, corporation tax laws, interest rates and the cost of production. The world is changing
faster than it ever has before. New technology is starting up in every product made. This can
be anything from vending machines to purchase an Ipad to the assembly lines auto mobiles are
made on. This is impacting the middle and lower class workers that had jobs in areas where
high tech has taken over. This is a new statistic that has to be measured in determining what
causes unemployment today. Immigrant workers here in the United States and abroad effect
jobs. Typically, an immigrant worker works for less money, longer hours and no benefits.
Leonard, a journalist describes a trip to Haiti where she met with women who earned about
two dollars a day while sewing apparel for Disney. While Disneys then CEO Michael Eisner
raked in 34,800 each day and more than 100,000 a day if stock options and benefits were
included. Farming out to cheaper labor takes away jobs from the US. (De Graaf 61) These jobs
could have been completed in the United States, but the cost of production would have been
much higher. A Job American wont do is a myth. Illegal immigrants come into the US and will
demand less pay then Americans will for the jobs such as janitorial services, farm workers etc.
Companies hire them because it is less expensive. They call them guest workers. Statistics
show 31 percent of immigrants working take service occupation compared to 16 percent
Americans.(Corsi 108) Also, 19 percent of illegal aliens are in construction jobs compared to 6
percent Americans and 15 percent of illegal aliens are in production or repair jobs compared to
10 percent Americans.(Corsi 108) Disney would have to pay the workers minimum wage, which

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is much higher than two dollars a day. This would cause people to buy fewer products because
the price of the product would be much higher. This would cause workers to be laid off
because the demand was low.
It is all a connected circle, when it comes to what causes unemployment. Interest rates
on mortgages also affect the unemployment rate. If the interest rates are high people have
little faith in the economy. Employers read this as an indicator that a recession is near. They
cut production and cut hours worked by employees; they may even lay off some to prepare for
tough times. Corporations are always looking at the bottom line of profits. They lobby congress
for better taxation plans for their companies. They have created a tax system that is heavily
weighted against the middle class. (Bartlett B 93) The government has also helped certain
industry lower cost of employees by deregulating certain parts of the economy and in so killed
jobs or lowered wages for employees across entire industries such as airlines and trucking.
(Bartlett)
Immigrant workers, better technology and corporate tax help all lower the cost of
production. The cost of production increases profits for the corporation. The taxes laws
encouraged corporations to transfer jobs abroad to eliminate higher paying jobs in this country
to bolster the value of stock, increase dividends and boost executive compensation. Employers
eliminate positions and replace permanent employees with contract workers at lower pay and
no benefits. Corporations are also allowed to shelter profits overseas. This does not support the
growth of new industry (Bartlett) Instead of putting money back into the United States

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economy and creating more jobs and new ideas. Corporations hide their money and store it so
that they do not need to pay tax on it.
Effects of Unemployment on People
Unemployment not only affects a persons financial condition, it also affects a persons
health and living conditions. As each month passes, it has become clearer that unemployment
is the single greatest cause of high foreclosure rates and falling home prices. The correlation
between cities with high jobless rates and extremely high foreclosures is stunning. The 10
worst real estate markets in the country each had unemployment levels above 12 percent in
2010, Two cities in California, Merced and Modesto had jobless rates above 17 percent nearly
twice the national average of 9.6 percent (Bartlett B 94) As each month passes, it has become
clearer that unemployment is the single greatest cause of high foreclosure rates and falling
home prices. Because help for the unemployment is so limited in the United States, people
turn to illegal activities such as dealing drugs to make ends meet. The prison population
increases with high unemployment. (Bartlett B 93) This has a profound effect on not only the
unemployed individual but also their family. Children start to drop out of school to help find
part time or minimum work. The children can get caught up in gangs and drugs as well as the
unemployed parent. Suicide rates go up. Divorce rates go up. Health issues such as heart
attacks go up. Children get less education due to family moving, illness, Lack of focus on
education more focus on survival. (Baker)This is affecting all races mostly low and middle class
income families. Hardships are growing specifically among whites. They are pessimistic about
their financial futures. A decline in marriages and increased in white mother head of

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household. (Yen) This is happening all across America and corporations and government
continue to look at statistics and say that the economy is moving forward.
The Unemployment condition in the United States Today
The current unemployment rate is reported monthly in the Jobs Report by the Bureau of
labor and Statics the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator that because of employers resist
hiring new workers until they are absolutely sure the economy will stay strong. Although its
not good for prediction trends it is useful for confirming trends. (Amadeo) When trying to
determine a prediction for unemployment, economist looks at many variables as we discussed.
Measuring data is tricky. They need to use surveys and census, which are not always accurate.
Employment is highly cyclical when demand increases first overtime hours will increase if
demand is strong companies will hire more workers. (Bloomburg)
President Obama always speaks about the unemployment rate. It is a sign of a good
president when the unemployment rate is low. This means the economy is good. Obama puts
out a lot of propaganda to make the American people believe the unemployment condition is
not as bad as it is. Obamas stimulus Bill to help state governments create jobs in 2009 through
2013 funded some new jobs. Unfortunately, a lot of jobs were what they call shovel ready but
no funding. The amazing thing is that the states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming
have the lowest rate of unemployment by 3 times other states and they got the bulk of the
support from the bill.(Bartlett D 6) People are very concerned what the American government
is doing for the unemployed. The man has written president Obama about his plight of
unemployment and his job search. Both times Obamas office replied with letters that said

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Dear Friend (Baker) This shows that the Obama administration does not have a clear picture
of how unemployment truly affects people in the United States. The United States jobless rate
decreased to 6.1 percent in August from 6.2 percent in July. Over the year the unemployment
rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points from 1.7
million respectively. Hireling dropped in August as economy added 142,000 jobs this is a
disappointing setback for the economic expansion that has been gaining steam for the most of
the year.
Economic News released that the number of long term unemployed declined by 192,000 to 3
million in August these individuals accounted for 31.2 percent of the unemployed over the past
12 months. And the number of long term unemployed has declined by 1.3 million. (Goldfarb)

The United States unemployment is a very complicated statistic. As the chart above
from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis shows, unemployment is supposed to decline

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throughout 2014. Unemployment is affected by many variables, such as the labor force,
corporations agendas and governments agenda or lack of agenda. More important than a
statistic is the affect is has on the person, a United States citizen. Unemployment and the
variables that create it take out the human factor and look only to the profit of their bottom
line. Government and corporations should have a duty to the American people, not only to
make a profit but to be a good citizen to the people.

Work Cited:

Amadeo, Kimberley. "Current U.S. Unemployment Rate Statistics." Use Economy about. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
Baker, Dean, and Kevin Hassett. "The Human Disaster of Unemployment." The New York Time
Sunday Review. N.p., 12 May 2012. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
Bartlett, Bruce. The New American Economy. New York: Palgrave McMillian, 2009. Print.
Bartlett, Donald L., and James B. Steel. Betrayal of the American Dream. New York: Public
Affairs, 2012. Print.
Bernstein, Peter L. Economist on Wall Street. New Jersey: The MacMillan Company,2008. Print.
Corsi Ph.D., Jerome R. America for Sale. New York: Threshold Editions, 2009. Print.

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Davidson, Paul. "Fed Sings Wall Street's Tune." USA Today 18 Sept 2014, Section B Page B1.
Print.
De Graaf, John, and David K Batker. What's the economy for Anyway?. New York: Bloombury
Press, 2011. Print.
"Generation Jobless." The Economist. N.p., 27 April 2013. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
Goldfarb, Zachary A. "Hiring dropped in August as Economy added 42,000jobs; unemployment
rate at 6.1%." Washington Post. N.p., 5 Sept 2014. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
Guide to Economic Indicators. 6th ed. New York: Bloomberg Press, Print.
LaHart, Justin. "Fed Walks the Line of Expectations." Wall Street Journal 18 Sept 2014, Money
and Investing C10. Print.
Mejeur, Jeanne. "National Employment Monthly Update." . Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5 Sept
2014. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
"US Unemployment Rate Falls in August."TradingEconomics.com. N.p.. Web. 18 Sep 2014.
Yen, Hope. "80 Percent of U.S. Adults Face Near Poverty, Unemployment: Survey." Huffington
Post. N.p., 28 Jul 2013. Web. 18 Sep 2014.