The Longterm Effects of Unemployment

This is a topic of great interest to me, not only because I continue to be unemployed, but on a much larger scale what kind of impact will be seen from the events of the last 5 years. I am talking about what the effects will be on my generation, the generation thats just graduating college, and also the effects on kids growing up today. This kind of research probably wont be known for decades or even generations. We know about the lasting effects of the Great Depression; we know how it changed peoples way of spending money. How they were more risk adverse. Some of those lessons were taught to me by my Father and Grandmother. My Grandparents were actually well off and pretty much unhurt by the Depression (dont think Vanderbilt mansions), but there was a lesson learned there about how you spend money, which was taught to my Father and then passed on to my brother and me. To this day I follow those examples; I dont buy things I dont need, money is never to be wasted. No matter how much you have or how much you can afford thats the way I live my life. All lessons from the Great Depression.

Todays events I believe will be much more impactful and have much greater consequences than those of the 1930’s. Today women work so they are feeling the same effects as men; the world is a lot more interconnected then it was back then so everyone now is able to see suffering that goes on. Not just the ones living through it.

Being unemployed is a horrible position to be in; many people equate their identities and self worth to their jobs, so when they lose their job they can take a big hit to their psychological well being. Add to that that this is one of the worst job markets in the history of the United States, people can feel a lack of hope. Losing  hope is a serious issue, this can lead to depression and other disorders. Money plays a large portion with the unemployed, there is a constant worry of how you will support yourself, your kids, parents whomever you need to help. This of course can lead to anxiety another psychological disorder. Studies have shown that the unemployed are more likely to abuse substances whether they be alcohol or drugs. I have heard some estimates that there are 300 unemployed people for every open position. Those numbers are staggering. You can start to understand why people just cant take the rejection anymore. The CDC has done extensive studies showing that suicide rates are directly correlated to the economic cycles and employment. This is devastating news!  I have also read many studies indicating unemployed men and women are more likely to die younger, earn lower wages and more susceptible to diseases such as cancer than their working counter parts.

What is interesting to me is what the impact of all of this is 50 or 75 years from now. Kids seeing their parents out of work, looking for jobs, getting constant rejection. People, such as myself, over 45 who arent being hired because of age (I cant prove this, but I know this); recent college grads not being able to find work. Current High School students wondering why bother to study or even go to college if there are no jobs? Not to mention the tremendous anxiety felt by those that are working that they could be the next one on the chopping block.

What saved us from the last Depression was World War 2; the tremendous government spending, the immediate need for women to work to help out the war effort. After the war there was a tremendous sense of Victory and American Dominance and Pride. I dont think we will be as lucky this time. We have a completely dysfunctional Government that is offering no solutions, just childlike bickering. We wont know for sure for many years to come; but I dont see a good ending for this. I think the impact is going to be devastating for generations to come.

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14 thoughts on “The Longterm Effects of Unemployment

  1. I think you are spot on in this post. While the effects will be devastating for years to come, the widening gap between classes will grow exponetially as well!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting; I wanted to stay away from the class divide issue in that I think that has more to do with taxes than anything else. Not being an economist I dont know for sure, but I think Reagan changed parts of the tax code that heavily benefited wealthier people and allowed then to become more wealthy. Thanks for the compliment on the post!

    1. Wow, I have to say I am totally shocked by your reaction and I dont get shocked easily. You read an entire piece of possible devastating outcomes for generations to come, pain people are going through on a daily basis and your response shows no sympathy to anyone who could be effected by this, your response is just to dispute what the consensus of economic authorities have agreed on for almost 100 years?

      The reason I didnt mark your response as spam and delete it is because it shows the truly ugly side of mankind. There is no disputing WW2 is what got the US out of the Great Depression. There is also no disputing that the austerity the US put in place in 1937 made the Depression longer and deeper. If you have a fact based response I will allow you to post it. Otherwise I am likely to remove your posts and access to my blog completely.

  2. Andrew when I lost my career w/ the Marriott corp I wrote Mr.Marriott and letter thanked him for fifteen years of sales and management training.He actually wrote me back a week later.Anyway as I was contemplating life I realized that in the course of the day my house got really hot. Too hot in fact to use my office for the later parts of the day. Once I solved my problem I wondered why everyone didn’t do the same thing.After I saw a $400. credit to my year round plan I started my company Window Wonders.It has taken every cent I ever saved (yes even my 401K) or borrowed.It is hard changing people’s paradigms of what window treatments should be .I had to recently file for bankruptcy and get a job in restaurants.I still have my patent and trademark ,the product and the will. But it isn’t easy.I have not had a paycheck in three years,.One window at a time does not make me rich. I was compelled to write to give you hope .I see why people do not start businesses.Banks do not lend money anymore.being your own boss is not easy .You feel guilty when you take a day off. I agree w/ most of what you said .I am kind of grateful that I don’t have any kids to worry about or I definitely could not have been able to take this leap. Good luck to you.

  3. Andrew, once again you have hit the nail on the head about the effects of long term unemployment. It is a subject many do not like to discuss. Thank you for taking the time to write this and I wish you well in your job hunt and future . I also am long term unemployed and know that it is devastating in many ways.

  4. Many interesting points. The challenge I’m having is with the current employment market and it’s correlation to government spending. In the past four years the Federal government has spent billions (started with Bush and continued with Obama). Interest rates can’t go lower. Unemployment benefits have been extended beyond what was available when I used them (when I exited the Navy I needed help). Personal taxes can’t truly go much lower ( they are lower today than in any recent past ). So, without making this a class argument, who has benefitted? Where is the money? Billions have been dumped into the public sector, billions have not been brought back into the government ( see the deficit ), and millions are not working. Unemployment rates by education level do tell the story of where the money being spent and the nature of why we aren’t recovering – http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat07.htm
    Without getting the masses to work there will be no recovery. I’m not touching the age,race,sex unemployment rates because no one cares who you are when you spend the money…we all need to just focus on getting people to work.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this Andrew. Keep writing. Many small voices make a chorus.

    1. Michael, thanks for taking the time to read and have such an in depth fact based response! From what I understand there are a few reasons we arent recovering; one being that the financial crisis was far deeper than most people realized, we were looking at a 9% drop in GDP, which is a staggering amount. At the time they thought it was only 6% so all of the estimates and projections were based off the 6% figure, not the 9%. This is quite common in financial readings, that they are reevaluated and changed 3 or 4 times until the final number is calculated. So, this ‘Great Recession’ cant be compared to any other period on time except the Great Depression.

      Secondly, many economists think that the stimulus was too small; that the $800B put into the economy wasnt enough to make any kind of dent or improvement. Especially since about a 1/3 of the ‘stimulus’ was tax cuts, which dont have a stimulating effect. What was really needed was double or triple that amount to make a difference. What got us out of the Great Depression was the spending on WW2; this was about 100% of GDP and thats probably whats needed now. But a solid plan has to be put into place as to where that money would be spent and on what. I’d suggest modernizing transit, high speed trains from coast to coast.

      The other major reason we have not seen a recovery is because the GOP has blocked Obama on every bill, every idea and every measure he has tried. The classic story of Obama on the way to Congress to present his stimulus bill the GOP was having a press conference rejecting the stimulus, which they hadn’t seen yet. The GOP main goal has been regaining power, they have been completely unwilling to offer suggestions, work with POTUS or the Dems. Many studies have concluded that the economy has been severely affected by the dysfunction in Washington. I am not saying Obama is blameless, not in the least. But the majority of this devastating economy can be blamed on the GOP and tea party.

  5. Well done for writing such a great post highlighting the feelings and effects of long term unemployment. I wish with my all my heart that you weren’t long term unemployed but what you do on this blog to discuss these issues, namely the impact it has on people’s lives, health and family, is just wonderful. Being Australian, I am not in a position to comment on the political aspects your posts raise, goodness knows we have our own political problems here too, but I wanted to applaud you, because awareness is important.

    1. Thanks so much Michelle for your kind words. One of the most frustrating parts of the unemployment situation is that it seems to be completely forgotten by the media and the presidential candidates. I wish more people, people who could change policy, read my blog. Thanks again for your encouragement!

  6. Andrew, great piece. I agree that youth seems to be a more marketable quality than skill and/or experience to employers these days… We need to be entrepreneurial and develop our own businesses based on our sets of skills and expertise… Knowing that it’s not for everyone, I so agree with the concerns you have about the effects these years will have for years to come…

  7. Andrew, despite glowing performance reviews I was laid off at age fifty eight and am now sixty one and fairly confident I will never work again. Being unemployed and facing continual rejection after exhaustive job searching has made me alternately angry and depressed. I never realised how pervasive a problem this is until I had one of my nieces through marriage tell me they don’t want her at age 35 – that they only want 25 year olds! Sad, sick society that makes a 35 year old multilingual, gorgeous and intelligent young woman feel over the hill.The part that irks me the most with my own situation was the company pled poverty despite excellent profits and they used my coworkers and I as human pawns to increase that profit margin. John Q and that bunch from Coastal Learning Centers along with the GOP can go straight to hell for the suffering they inflicted on so many, many people. I wish you luck in re-situating yourself professionally.

    1. I am so sorry that you are going through this, its a situation tens of millions of people are in and its not getting better. Thanks for reading and sharing. I wish you the best of luck.

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