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Samantha Barajas
Mrs. Rogers
English 12
October 9, 2014
In the United States of America there are approximately 316 million people. Many of
these dont have a job, they are unemployed for various circumstances. The economy throughout
history has had its ups and downs, its high and low years. We may think that the unemployment
situation has a lot to do with this. However, does it only affect the government? Does it also
affect its citizens? In what way? All of these questions are frequently asked by many. It all
started several years ago.
After World War II the economy went down and money was being spent heavily on
weapons and unnecessary social activities (Bloomberg 1). The year 1949 was a year where the
unemployment rate was of 5.90%. Even though this is a high percentage, the rate went up even
more during the next years ahead. As the years went by and Kennedy became President, a
brief recession made him sign in favor for more benefits; he expanded Social Security
and unemployment benefits and cut taxes ( This dropped the rate to 3.50% a big drop.
The years went by and the economy had its ups and downs. In the 1970s there was an
Arab oil embargo that brought the economy right down, and it lasted up to the mid 1980s. At
that time President Richard M. Nixon sought to ease inflation by implementing price and wage
controls ( Inflation is when the dollar is worth less and prices go up. During these years the


unemployment rate was up to a record high of 9.70%. This became a serious problem because
the economy was going down and this caused employers to decrease the amount of employees
they had. According to Adam Smith, the economy depends a lot of whether people are working
or not. He said, the well-being of workers is itself the wealth of nations (Adler 120).
During the Great Depression many people didnt have a job and the economy was just at
its lowest point. Many have said that the Great Depression can best be summarized by- the
rate of unemployment (Adler 157). This tragic period of time affected the United States
greatly, and the cause of it comes back to being the unemployment situation. This big problem
affected everyone back then, and keeps being a problem now. The 21st century hasnt changed
much since back then.
When we analyze the current situation right now in the 21st century, one can see that our
economy has had recessions, but then becomes stable and so on. These types of things are
unpredictable. At this very moment, in the year 2014 the unemployment rate is of 5.9%. This
means that more and more people are getting hired and more jobs are becoming available.
However, why is there still people out there without a job? Where do most jobs go?
According to Lou Dobbs in the book Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is
shipping American Jobs Overseas, many jobs are being sent outside of the US. For example,
Internet provider EarthLink is closing its call center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and sending
400 jobs to the Philippines and India (Dobbs 14). Many companies cant afford to pay the
minimum wage to an American employee, therefore they have to manufacture their product in
another country where labor is cheaper. Another example is the clothes we wear; it isnt being
made here in the United States, and instead it is sent to countries like India, China, and the


Philippines etc. In these countries an employee works for as low as 50cents an hour. The jobs
that should be done in the U.S. are getting done by someone else in another country.
Many people are also being replaced with machines that can do the job faster and much
less expensive. Technology has been growing more and more each year. There are always new
inventions that have drastically changed the workforce. Everything takes people less, time, and
even money; the so- called death of distance means that it now takes less time to move goods,
services, capital, people, and information( Dobbs 49). Something that has significantly
changed the past few years, is the use of the internet. It has replaced humans and an example of
that is email, people can send a letter or mail through the internet without having to pay the post
office to send it. All of these innovative designs are affecting everyone in a good, but also bad
Another reason why the unemployment rate is significantly high is because a lot of
people just dont want to work. Many prefer to stay home and enjoy the benefits the government
gives to those who are unemployed. It may seem hard to believe but its true. The government
gives a lot of help to those that cant find a job, are injured, or got laid off. These benefits
include housing, food and nutrition, child care, transportation, and payments. A person can get
help from the government and get paid what they would when they were working, plus not get
charged taxes. Therefore many opt to stay without working for as long as they can. So, how
does not working affect the lives of Americans?
If a person doesnt have a job, then they dont have money. When they dont have
money, it is very hard to buy goods. Such as food, clothes, medicine, and any other necessary
items. In the book So Rich, So Poor: why its so hard to end poverty in America, Edelman
mentions how wages have not risen and- the incomes of those in the bottom half languished as


well (Edelman 32). Those without a job are suffering because they dont have enough to pay the
mortgage or feed their family. It is truly a tragic situation that is affecting millions of
Although this is one of the most prosperous countries in the world, there are still
thousands of Americans living in poverty. There were millions in poverty in the 1930s
because the economy had collapsed (Edelman 14). A lot of children suffer from malnutrition
and even die every day. Many have to live on welfare because they just dont have enough in
order to pay for groceries. All of these problems are caused because of all the unemployment.
When someone loses their job it not only affects them personally, it also affects entire
towns, in effect crippling communities (Dobbs 7). In fact, when we drive through a
neighborhood we often see four or five houses that are for sale or abandoned. This can
sometimes raise the crime and vandalism in the neighborhood. Also stores nearby dont get as
many customers because the people living there dont have money. This consequently leads to
closed businesses or even more expensive products. It is evident that unemployment affects a lot
of our everyday lives.
According to many studies, stress is one of the leading causes of many illnesses. Those
who are stressed tend to live very unpleasant lives. What causes this kind of stress many times?
Unemployment, is a very stressful and frustrating situation because people need the money to
pay for bills and take care for themselves and their family. Unemployment is almost always a
traumatic event (Baker 1).
There are several illnesses that are very common in those who are unemployed.
Including depression and suicide thoughts due to the fact that those without a job are not


keeping their mind occupied. Many studies have shown that the unemployed versus the
employed are elevated rates of suicide and attempted suicide
( The increase in unemployment would
lead to an additional 128 suicides per month in the United States (Baker 1). As seen, being
unemployed brings many problems. It destroys peoples health, family, and sometimes
mind. However, that is not all that unemployment brings?
Many of those that get laid off often dont find a job right away. It can take months and
even years before a person gets hired again. The consequences of this is that do to the lack of
practice, skills and abilities are forgotten. Therefore, when a person that hasnt worked is
hired, they must learn new skills all over again. For example, if a mechanic doesnt fix cars
for a time lapse of a year, it is obvious that when he does start working he wont really
remember the name of certain auto part or how to fix the car. This would be a great big
problem. Sadly, it is happening. All of the ways unemployment affect Americans is
We sometimes dont think how something so small, or that seems insignificant can ruin a
whole country or a persons life. The unemployment situation is much better now than it was
in 1982, when on November it went up to a record high of 10.8%. Since then the economy
has been inconsistent, however it has slightly improved and people are now beginning to
work. This has helped the economy a lot. We notice the economys improvement because
gas, food, and other prices are not as high.
There was a lot of information discussed. Therefore, it is important that a brief summary
of everything is given. First, it is essential that one understands how the unemployment rate
began to rise at the start of WWII. Since the government focused on buying weapons and


other war materials, the economy began to slowly collapse. Next, during the 1970s and
80s, the unemployment rose to an all- time high of 10.8%. This happened in a time lapse of
about 40 years. It is incredible how a country can change in so little time.
After analyzing what happened after WWII, we must know how our economy and
unemployment rate is doing today in the 21st Century. The rate is of 5.9%, and it is a great
improvement. More and more people are getting jobs because they are becoming available.
However people are also beginning to work because a lot of the government benefits got
taken away. Even with these improvements, there are thousands without a job.
Although many have a job, a lot dont. This brings consequences to the health, emotional
stability, and skills of a person. Those who dont work, tend to not have enough money for
food, rent, and other necessary things. When this happens, their family and they suffer in
many ways. For example, the stress level rises because it is frustrating not having enough to
feed their family. This is where the health issue comes in. Also the poverty level in the
country rises and many even suffer from malnutrition.
Another thing that is affected is the emotional stability of a person. When a job is lost,
that person can sometimes experience depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Having to deal with this is such a horrible experience and affects millions of Americans;
many go through this thanks to their unemployment situation. Unemployment is always a
traumatic event (Baker 1). This is not all that it causes, it affects much more.
Finally, we have the skills lost because of no practice. Since people usually dont find a
job right away, it can take months or even a year until a person starts working. This results
in the person losing the skills and abilities they had. If a person doesnt work in what they


were trained for, then the skills he or she had are lost. It is incredible how big an impact it
has in life to be unemployed.
If we make a conclusion, we may be certain that the unemployment situation in the
United States of America has improved so far. However, it has never been good for a country to
have a lot of its citizens without a job. It is essential that people maintain busy. That is why it
is a bit uplifting to read that the unemployment situation in the U.S. is becoming better.
However, we must keep a close eye on those unemployment rates because they can predict when
the economy will go up or down.


Works Cited
Adler, Moshe. Economics for the rest of us: debunking the science that makes life dismal. New
York: New Press; Distributed by Perseus Distribution, c2010
Dobbs, Lou. Exporting America: why corporate greed is shipping American jobs overseas. New
York: Warner Business Books: Published by Warner Books, c2004
Edelman, Peter B. So rich, so poor: why its so hard to end poverty in America. New York: New
York: New Press: Distributed by Perseus Distribution, c2012
Lipsomb, Todd. Re-made in the USA: how we can restore jobs, retool manufacturing, and
complete with the world. 1966- Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, c2011
Schwartz. Nelson. Job Growth is Sluggish, Raising Fear of Malaise.
Sicilia B. David, A Brief History of US Unemployment.
Zentralinstitutes fr seelische Gesundheit, Mannheim. Does Unemployment Cause illnesses?