All Threads by Date
Hopeless: Unemployed Americans Drop Out Of Labor Force As Job Market Stagnates
WASHINGTON -- After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She'd already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn't land anything else, either – not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she'll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
"I'm not proud of it," says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. "The only way I'm able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on."
Baebler's frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they've given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn't supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Instead, the number of Americans in the labor force – those who have a job or are looking for one – fell by nearly half a million people from February to March, the government said Friday. And the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force – what's called the participation rate – fell to 63.3 percent last month. It's the lowest such figure since May 1979.
The falling participation rate tarnished the only apparent good news in the jobs report the Labor Department released Friday: The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 in February.
People without a job who stop looking for one are no longer counted as unemployed. That's why the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in March despite weak hiring. If the 496,000 who left the labor force last month had still been looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would have risen to 7.9 percent in March.
"Unemployment dropped for all the wrong reasons," says Craig Alexander, chief economist with TD Bank Financial Group. "It dropped because more workers stopped looking for jobs. It signaled less confidence and optimism that there are jobs out there."
The participation rate peaked at 67.3 percent in 2000, reflecting an influx of women into the work force. It's been falling steadily ever since.
Part of the drop reflects the baby boom generation's gradual move into retirement. But such demographics aren't the whole answer.
Even Americans of prime working age – 25 to 54 years old – are dropping out of the workforce. Their participation rate fell to 81.1 percent last month, tied with November for the lowest since December 1984.
"It's the lack of job opportunities – the lack of demand for workers – that is keeping these workers from working or seeking work," says Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute. The Labor Department says there are still more than three unemployed people for every job opening.
Cynthia Marriott gave up her job search after an interview in October for a position as a hotel concierge.
"They never said no," she says. "They just never called me back."
Her husband hasn't worked full time since 2006. She cashed out her 401(k) after being laid off from a job at a Los Angeles entertainment publicity firm in 2009. The couple owes thousands in taxes for that withdrawal. They have no health insurance.
She got the maximum 99 weeks' of unemployment benefits then allowed in California and then moved to Atlanta.
Now she is looking to receive federal disability benefits for a lung condition that she said leaves her weak and unable to work a full day. The application is pending a medical review.
"I feel like I have no choice," says Marriott, 47. "It's just really sad and frightening"
During the peak of her job search, Marriott was filling out 10 applications a day. She applied for jobs she felt overqualified for, such as those at Home Depot and Petco but never heard back. Eventually, the disappointment and fatigue got to her.
"I just wanted a job," she says. "I couldn't really go on anymore looking for a job."
Young people are leaving the job market, too. The participation rate for Americans ages 20 to 24 hit a 41-year low 69.6 percent last year before bouncing back a bit. Many young people have enrolled in community colleges and universities. That's one reason a record 63 percent of adults ages 25 to 29 have spent at least some time in college, according to the Pew Research Center.
Older Americans are returning to school, too. Doug Damato, who lives in Asheville, N.C., lost his job as an installer at a utility company in February 2012. He stopped looking for work last fall, when he began taking classes in mechanical engineering at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
Next week, Damato, 40, will accept an academic award for earning top grades. But one obstacle has emerged: Under a recent change in state law, his unemployment benefits will now end July 1, six months earlier than he expected.
He's planning to work nights, if possible, to support himself once the benefits run out. Dropping out of school is "out of the question," he said, given the time he has already put into the program.
"I don't want a handout," he says. "I'm trying to better myself."
Many older Americans who lost their jobs are finding refuge in Social Security's disability program. Nearly 8.9 million Americans are receiving disability checks, up 1.3 million from when the recession ended in June 2009.
Natasha Baebler's journey out of the labor force and onto the disability rolls began when she lost her job serving disabled students and staff members at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in February 2012.
For six months, she sought jobs in her field, brandishing master's degrees in social education and counseling. No luck.
Then she just started looking for anything. Still, she had no takers.
"I chose to stop and take a step back for a while ... After you've seen that amount of rejection," she says, "you start thinking, `What's going to make this time any different?' "
- This is happening in ALL G7 countries today.
- Population out of control, two job households killed the workforce, corporate greed eliminated fair pay and benefits.....
....now people can't find jobs....
- The real unemplyment rate is much higher than the official published rate. There are huge numbers of people that are giving up like this. In addition there are huge numbers of people that are taking jobs that are part time or temporary. The real unemployment/underemployment rate is somehing like twice what the published rate is. Obama doesn't have a clue how to fix it. He has made it worse with obamcare.
- The solution to all of this is yet another New Reality TV show, to continue to distract Americans.
- The This American Life episode with Chana Joffe-Walt discussing the disability as the sort of end game safety net for unemployed adults.
- And an interview with...
[quote]Harold Pollack, an expert on disability policy at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration
...about the This American Life program and what it missed.
- The government needs to start a massive infrastructure rebuilding project like the WPA. Crumbling roads and bridges should be rebuilt. Mass transist systems should be expanded in cities that have them. Cities that don't have them should be selected to get them.
A decent infusion of cash into the economy is going to be the only thing that is going to kickstart the economy. Corporate America is sitting on wads of cash and won't spend any of it. A large works project is the only thing the government can do.
We then need to start splitting up the "too big to fail" financial institutions. And regulate the shit out of them and mortgage companies to prevent this from happening again.
- From university straight to McDonald's, with a nice big student loan to keep them starving and under control.
Witness the Corporate planned return of slavery in the USA - all legal.
- R7 - with what money?
- The employer avoiding to provide health insurance was anticipated in the affordable health care acts initial talks, this job loss was forecasted. This is not a surprise, r3.
By 2017 states may waiver a single pay system as long as they are compliant in the health care laws, which if done correctly could eliminate this archaic system of employer sponsored insurance. Additionally, in October this year, the major changes happen, and the positive results of this will outweigh any unintended consequences.
Really, this is the biggest middle class tax cut in health care history.
R7 and r8 are spot on, we need to vote out all of the politicians that are corporate sponsors and vote in true political representation of the people.
Unemployment will continue to be a problem without reinvestment in America.
- [quote]Really, this is the biggest middle class tax cut in health care history.
Wow, are you ignorant.
- R11. Yes, but only because he believes what dear leader tells him to believe.
- Until political contributions to all politicians are limited to:
1. registered voters only and
2. maximum of $1,000 a year,
the entire American political system will remain corrupted. The spot always goes to the best funded candidate.
- Free Trade agreements was the final nail in the coffin.
The Act will provide the largest tax cut for health care in American history. Millions of families will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help them pay for insurance in the new exchanges. This tax relief for working families will make insurance more affordable for those who can’t get it through work or whose employer insurance is too expensive.
- This is what happens when big business makes more money from its cash stores than the profits of the enterprise it is in. Big business must be made to to BE JOB CREATORS.
- I've been looking for a job for the last 4 years and I can't find anything either. If it weren't for all of my debt, I'd give up too.
Land of Opportunity my ass.
- This is not just happening in the USA. It is happening in the UK, France, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany and Japan...just to mention a few.
The entire G7 is collapsing.
- Frau Merkel is single-handedly keeping Europe afloat. She also knows that there is a satanic takeover of the world happening now, which is why she is quoting Jesus frequently.
One German woman is successfully fighting the New World Order in Europe but our male leaders have sold us all out.
Everyone is depressed and frightened and feel this takeover happening.
Ironically, Germany is now fighting evil this time, and may save the world.
- Angela Merkel knows of a satanic takeover?? Do tell.
- Parody noted R19.
Angela Merkel is fighting Gay Germans at this time, so by your definition, Gays must be Satan.
Did your Jesus group meeting take a coffee break, which you choose to spend on DL?
- [quote]This tax relief for working families will make insurance more affordable for those who can’t get it through work or whose employer insurance is too expensive.
You are making it sound as if by some magic every working person will be insured at low cost. Those who do not qualify for subsidies will have to pay through the nose to be insured, or pay penalties.
Yes, most low income people and families will do well with AHC, but everyone else will be hit with steep bills.
We need single-payer health care. Period. Let's hope that we get it in the next 10-20 years.
- All America could have total public heathcare for 1/2 of the Pentagons current budget.
- No one is fighting gay Germans, R21. For heaven's sake, the world does not revolve aroung gay people, and Germany is MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE THAN THE US in terms of gay freedom.
The Cypress bank takeover illustrates what the NWO wants to do with all of us--take over the banks and leave us all broke and enslaved.
Merkel is one smart cookie--a physicist--and she sees the satanic illuminati takeover ocurring. When she mentions "Jesus as her companion" she really means it--she is fighting for her life, her country, and the rest fo us as well.
Merkel is the world's hero (heroine). She is the only one standing up to this satanic plot and speaks freely about it. I love her.
Again, when she says "Jesus is my companion" what she really means is "Jesus is my bodyguard" GOD I love that woman.
- This is an interesting thread.
I hope it won't be derailed by stupid talk about the DEVIL and the Illuminati!
- I'd love to know how the woman in the OP's article can qualify for Social Security disability while she's clearly been physically able to look for a job.
And we wonder why SS is so fucked up.
- When GW Bush f***** up this country he did it royally. the bastard really should face the firing squad. If Bush had any sense of self respect he'd commit suicide .
- Yes things are bad out there. It was tough 4 years ago and it's beyond bad now. We've gone from bad to worse.
- For some of us, the only way to "give up" is to kill ourselves. I do not have family to stay with since both my parents have passed away and my siblings are RWNJ's and couldn't care less about me. I've been self-sufficient most of my adult life but the job market is cruel. Got laid off last year and cannot find anything. Unemployment has helped but that runs out soon.
Suicide is a viable option if things don't improve by the time my UI runs out. I will not live on the street or in a shelter.
It's very sad as I recall a time where there was always work...even as a temp but temp agencies have dried up because temp budgets were the first to go. America is no longer the land of opportunity. It was in the 90s.
- People aren't making it by working because of underemployment either. So, employees of Walmart, etc have to file for food stamps. And with the cost of gas to get to work, many people can't really survive by working let alone not-working.
The real problem is part-time employment and unpaid internships. Also, foreigners on H1 Visas are taking jobs as well. It stinks, big time.
And nothing is by accident--this is all planned out.
- [quote]And nothing is by accident--this is all planned out.
Can you ease expound on that statement, please.
- stop buying stuff made in China
- Hi R29,
you know , I survived working temp jobs for many years. Temp agencies were everywhere, but many closed about ten years ago. It's sad, because they were something to always fall back on in tough times.
Don't kill yourself. You won't live on the street. Keep researching on available resources and yes, go on welfare or disability if you have to. Move out of state if you have to. Buy a van if you have to.
I hate to say this, but be a prostitute if you have to. Just don't hurt anyone else, or steal.
How is your health? If it is good, then it is incredibly stupid to kill yourself.
We can talk more if you like. Just keep posting at your convenience.
- People need to get politically organized. The current parties are useless corporate whores.
Whenever there was change for labor rights, it was through political organizing and mass protests.
This is not happening, so things will get worse. The profiteers are happy when no one puts up a fight.
- But I thought Obama was gonna improve the economy and do something about the unemployment rate! oops..
- I know that South (or is it North?) Dakota is deperate for laborers. Probably Alaska as well.
- Millions of Americans will not be gainfully employed for a very long time so don't let that drive you to suicide. Do not define yourself by your job or lack thereof.
In the meantime: practice earthing as much as you can. "Earthing" just means grounding yourself to the earth's energy. It is incredibly healing and will buuild up your self-confidence.
And it's free! All you have to do is stand or walk barefoot on grass or dirt. That's it! If you want to lay on the ground even better.
Of course, try to find grass that is herbicide free and watch out for sharp objects.
By "Earthing" ourselves we may find answers to our problems.
- I worry that the economics are simply not there for the U.S. and there will not be enough jobs for the next several decades. There is such a concentration of wealth and it is being exacerbated by very specialized, high-tech jobs that only pay well for a few years, or, landing a gig on reality television (the new lotto).
- Speaking of Lotto. Boy the Powerball gods let me down a couple of weeks ago
- Globalization is one of the worst, most evil concepts ever invented, along with Communism, Nazism and the likes.
How could nations and governments every think it was a great idea to rob the people of the US/Europe/Japan/Australia of so many jobs and bring any kind of affluence or economic success to those people? How could they ever think this could go on forever without it all exploding? Unless it was deliberate.
- It was deliberate, R40. They didn't care. They saw it as an easy, quick way to make megaprofits. They DID NOT CARE that they were destroying their own nations.
- Exactly R40. I always cringe when I hear politicians talking about how Americans need to learn new skills to compete in the World market. I'm like what fucking new skills? Living in a mud hut and aborting baby girls?
- Those are the new skills, R42. Don't forget eating food from a toxic dump.
- And R40, R41,
that is why Angela Merkel is held in such high regard amongst Germans. She has maintained a prosperous Germany throughout these woeful times. She has not and will not sell out her people to the banksters.
When Merkel publicly announced that "multiculturalism doesn't work" she wasn't being racist or xenphobic. What she was really saying was that she wasn't going to let FORCED MULTICULTURALISM, a NWO globalist plan, to take over Germany. She isn't going to let unchecked immigration steal jobs from Germans, or prohibit their cultural and religious beliefs.
Now, do you see what is going on in America?
Now do you see that how the illuminati has bought of our leaders?
Hitler was one man in Germany who nearly destroyed the world.
Merkel will be the German woman who will save it.
- Angela must have some tasty pussy.
- There should have been tariffs in place years ago to keep all the major companies from producing all the goods offshore for cents on the dollar.
The 50's 60's and 70's were growth years for U.S. families and citizens.
Once all the products were made in elsewhere, jobs disappeared.
Unfortunately computer age world has made this possible to consolidate everything including
Major U.S. companies and Banks having Customer Service in 3rd world countries and wanting to have U.S consumers as their customers.
First cars from Detroit, then linens from the south, electronics from east and west coasts,
and produce from California going south...
Laws should have protected American workers.
Ironically the only unions protecting their workers are Government ones who keep giving employees raises in a stagnant economy from taxpayers who are really struggling.
- Does this mean Ross Perot was right?
- I once did research for an economy paper. I came across an article that talked about the difference between German and American business men. The article said that Germans are a lot less likely to impose major layoffs and outsource to the degree Americans do just to save money. Wish I could find it, I'll see if I can come back with a link.
- I believe this r48. Germans are very nationalistic.
- Americans can't find jobs and we are doing everything we can to bring in illegals and make them "new" Americans. So that more people can't find jobs and have to go on welfare. And oh yeah, vote Democrat.
- It doesn't matter what party is in, R50. It is the corporate policy. The govt are mere servants.
- [r49]: it's not as much "nationalistic" as a long term strategy for a healthy economy. During the global crisis, Merkel convened a group of industry leaders, union leaders and politicians to discuss crisis management. All agreed that it would be best to avoid mass layoffs, and companies thought it was cheaper in the long run to keep employees instead of laying them off, and later hiring and retraining new ones. Employees were able to use accrued overtime as a payout to make up for a reduced salary (due to reduced hours) or utilize a variety of flex strategies all while being able to keep their jobs.
- I agree with R50. The liberals want everyone to be here regardless of the laws.
- It's the repubs who want unchecked immigration as well.
- Republicans won't let us get married, straight male at R53. Now get lost - we hate conservative pussylickers here.
- No, the fact is that they are here and working. They should pay taxes. As guest workers, they will pay taxes but not be eligible for Medicare or Social Security until they become citizens.
- Call me crazy for considering suicide a more viable option over whoring myself out to keep a roof over my head. I think the government should issue suicide pills. Overpopulation is part of the jobs problem and, in spite of what they say, the government couldn't care less about the struggling.
- r55, you are so wrong...btw
- r56, it's much more complex than you know.
- [quote]with what money?
1. Nationalize healthcare.
2. Cut defense by 50%
Magically, you've just saved $1.5 TRILLION, which is enough to balance the federal budget AND spend $500 billion a year on infrastructure.
- Maybe if we repealed that stupid ass NAFTA this country might have a chance.
- "And according to Bankrate's February 2012 Financial Security Index, just more than half, or 54 percent, of Americans said they have more money in emergency savings than in credit card debt. One in 4 Americans has more credit card debt than emergency savings, up a bit from 23 percent last year."
This is not a good trajectory. If banks keep cutting people off from credit, and government is reduced, you will eventually have more people out of work?
- r23, and maybe for even less than 1/2 if the US govt moderated the healthcare and pharma industry.
- If Obama can't solve this problem, then who can?
Did Obama even try? He seemed to listen to the banks too much.
- Why do you have such faith in individual politicians, who are part of a system? It truly does not matter who they are. What matters is if there are protests about something.
Obama spoke the truth when he said "You have to push me." (By 'me' he meant himself, but he knows history - he also means all politicians). It is the same for ALL politicians. When they are pushed by the public, they will be forced to act.
There are NO (0) vibrant, sustained socio political protests in the US at the moment. That is why nothing is being done re inequality, the lack of universal healthcare, jobs being outsourced, etc.
People were in the streets protesting in the 30s, and in the 60s. Nothing now, so nothing will happen.
- Flouride, chemtrails and HFCS has tamed us into submission. Also, we are too embarrassed to protest because we know it will be taped and you know film adds ten pounds.
- Still, labor force participation in the U.S. has been declining since 2000 for demographic reasons. The massive surge of women into the work force since the 1960s has petered out. Baby Boomers have begun retiring. Those trends are not going to reverse.
And those trends are a mixed bag for the economy's hopes. On the one hand, people looking for work should be able to find jobs more easily when they're competing against fewer job seekers.
On the other hand, a smaller pool of available workers limits potential economic growth, says Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics. That's because growth in goods and services the economy produces is dependent on growth in the number of workers producing them or growth in output per worker, O'Sullivan says.
Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist of Barclays Capital, says the economy's long-run growth potential already had fallen to 2% from 3% or more a decade ago because of the falling participation rate. The economy, he says, can still expand faster than 2% as a result of extraordinary forces, such as very low interest rates, or the mid-2000's housing bubble.
The labor participation rate peaked at 67.3% in 2000, falling gradually to 66% by December 2007, when the recession began. Since then, the rate has declined more rapidly as more discouraged jobless Americans dropped out of the labor force.
Maki estimates that about two-thirds of the participation rate's decline since 2000 is due to demographic reasons. He had been expecting a recovering economy to lure many discouraged workers back into the job market, eventually stabilizing the participation rate at a lower level. Now, despite the continuing recovery, he says he's not so sure that surge of workers will be enough to offset the demographic trend.
One reason for that may be mismatches in the job market that could linger for years, says Joseph Lavorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank. For example, many unemployed construction and manufacturing workers have struggled to find work in growing fields, such as technology and health care, and it's not clear if or when they will, Lavorgna says.
Also, some older workers who can't find jobs are choosing to retire early or go on disability, turning a temporary decline in labor force participation into a permanent one.
Last month's particularly sharp decline in labor force participation might have been accentuated by the phasing out of extended unemployment benefits over the past year for more than 1 million Americans, O'Sullivan says. Unemployment insurance recipients must continue to look for work to be eligible for benefits, and many likely gave up their searches when their benefits ceased.
That group, economists say, likely includes both discouraged workers who will eventually return to the labor force, as well as older workers who likely will retire.
- "discouraged jobless" "discouraged workers" "gave up their searches" "discouraged workers"
This is really a bit of bullshit. It really does not matter how people "feel" when the JOBS ARE NOT THERE. You can be discouraged and have a job - as everyone who dread Sunday night knows!
It's typical of the mainstream media to avoid the TRUTH of a subject. In this case, blaming the psychology of the unemployed as opposed to looking at the political truth - industry has been outsourced for the past three decades. There are jobs in the places they were outsourced to. Not here.
- Something is screwed up royally in this new world economy, starting with CEO/Sr level executive compensation.
I posted this in another thread, but the over-valuing of CEO's and Sr level executive pay and bonuses is just morally wrong even if its considered 'fair market value'.
Companies will often first undergo layoffs and hiring freezes rather than cut back on Sr level pay.
And throw in the idea that American/'1st world' wages are increasingly considered 'too expensive' in many industries and it creates even more stress for those looking for employment. Most companies know that it's often easier to turn a profit outsourcing the labor overseas (likely in Asia). Offshore tax havens or corporate tax breaks also lessen the ability for the money to trickle down to where it's needed.
And don't even get me started on corporate money hoarding. (I'm looking at you, Apple, and your supposed $100 billion cash supply at one point).
This economy can't turn around until people are (reasonably) spending again. And everyone is hoarding right now because no one knows what's around the corner. The profitable corporations are in the best position to start taking some of their cash and hiring people to get the economy going again. And they refuse to do that.
- I feel very sorry for the long-term unemployed. The poor blind woman -- she's tried everything. Thank God she has her parents.
- [quote]It was tough 4 years ago and it's beyond bad now. We've gone from bad to worse.
R28, out here in the real world, things are a hell of a lot better than they were 4 years ago.
[quote]But I thought Obama was gonna improve the economy and do something about the unemployment rate! oops.
He has, or have you been asleep?
What is it with our resident trolls that they make such stupidly false pronouncements?
- So why can't we declare Ronald Reagan (and the now, finally deceased Maggie Thatcher)'s trickle down economics theory a dismal failure. Why are bankers and politicians still acting like it's the only viable economic theory.
It's complete and utter bullshit.
- Meanwhile, anyone I know who works in manufacturing or sales is on mandantory overtime - often working several weeks at a time without a day off in order to push the quarterly figures. So at the beginning and the first half of each quarter they're being sent home early or temporarily laid off and then by the second half and nearing the end of the quarter they're working 70 or 80 hours a week in order to meet stock holder expectations.
So basically these companies are being run like they're on the verge of collapse in order to impress their investors. That's a ridiculous way to operate these huge businesses and it's not sustainable.
- bump for the hopeless...
- [R50] Preach it! People voted for the current government, and this is what we get. You reap what you sow. We need to mind what Germany is doing and take care of America and Americans first.
stuck in the midwest