Unemployment has been a huge issue in the United States for the past few years. Many people have been jobless for a year or more at no fault of their own. For many of the people that can find work they are either underemployed or can only find part-time jobs. The government has made the numbers look better than they really are by only counting the people who are unemployed and actively looking for a job. Let us explore the causes of unemployment and then look at ways to overcome it.
Causes of Unemployment
There is not one specific cause for unemployment, but many different ones. Unfortunately, the employee has little control over most of the causes. Let us look at the main causes for unemployment.
What causes economic recession? Unfortunately, economic recessions are a normal part of the business cycle. During good financial times, businesses grow and expand capacity to meet growing demand. As supply out grows demand, a recession is likely to follow. Rising raw material prices can also cause demand to decline. Basically it all comes down to economics 101. As the economy slows, businesses begin to cut fat and become as lean as possible. Unfortunately, many times this leads to employees becoming unemployed.
You cannot talk about jobs and politics without watching this short and funny video
Unfortunately, politicians can have a positive or negative impact on the economy by the regulations and laws that they put into place. A good example of how politicians negatively impact unemployment is if you raise taxes on small business owners making over $250,000, they are less likely to be able to afford to hire more employees and may be forced to let some of their employees go to pay the higher taxes. Most small business owners are taxed as an individual plus they have to pay both sides of the FICA tax because they are self-employed. It is easy to be whipped into frenzy about wanting to tax the rich more and more by a certain political party and president, but it is a double-edged sword. I have never been hired by a poor person. Another good example of the government negatively effecting unemployment is the Trans Canada Keystone Pipeline that the current administration rejected. How does this affect unemployment? Building the pipeline would have created at least several thousand high paying jobs and would also help to lower the cost of oil products.
Health of the Business
Another reason that you could become unemployed is that the business you are working for is poorly run or gets itself into financial trouble. It could be that the new product line that the business is counting on fails or a competitor steals your best customers. Poor internal controls can also lead to employees being laid off. The manufacturing company that I work for had to shut down one of its operations because an employee embezzled over a million dollars from the company.
What to do if You Become Unemployed
The best advice that I have heard from people who have been unemployed at some point in their lives is to take one day and feel all of the emotions and disappointment that comes with it. Starting the next day, hit the pavement running and make finding a new job a high priority.
Create a Budget
Another high priority is to create a budget if you are currently not living on one or adjust your current budget to the amount of unemployment that you will be receiving. It is impossible to manage your finances without knowing where your money is going. I would separate expenses that cannot whatsoever be cut. Your mortgage, property taxes, and utility bills are a great example of these. Go through the remaining list and see what expenses that you can reduce or eliminate until you get back on your feet. If you can get your budget to break even with your income being reduced, that will go a long way overcoming stress that unemployment brings.
Temp or Take a Part-time Job
While you are looking for a full time job in your field, it is a good idea to work as a temporary worker or part time. This will help to show perspective employers that you want to work and give you a more complete work history. Maybe you will even be able to pick up a new skill that will help you in your chosen field.
Unfortunately, there is not any sure fire way to avoid becoming unemployed as we explored above. However, there are some things that you can do either to help find a new job or to make it less likely that you will be let go in the first place. All of the ways that I listed below all revolve from the idea of making yourself as valuable to your current company or perspective company.
Get a copy of The Resume Handbook
Having a college degree is a necessity in the world today. Many companies will not even look at you if you do not have a degree. If you are unemployed, many states will pay for you to go to college for two years to learn a new skill. This is a great opportunity to learn a new field or add to your skills in your current field. If you are employed, take advantage of any classes that your employer will pay for to either refresh or deepen your skills. You may also want to take a class here or there to upgrade your skills.
Niche Skill Set
Developing a niche skill set is probably the single most important thing you can do whether you are employed or not. The more that you know how to do, the more valuable you become. For an accountant, it will help you to be an expert in Excel and know it better than anyone else at your company. Staying in the accounting field, knowing how to use Microsoft Access is another niche skill that few accountants have, but will allow you to easily work with large amounts of data and manipulate it as needed. Become an expert in as many areas of your field as you can because the more valuable to the company you are, the harder you are to replace. Niche skills also make it easier to find a new job because your skill set is so broad.
We live in a world that is run by technology that is changing faster and faster. Stay on the technological cutting edge in your field. It is also helpful to stay current with technology in general such as computers, software, smart phones, etc. Again, the more different areas that you know make you more valuable.
Work Attitude and Work Ethic
Your work attitude and work ethic are two of the most important things that can help you to avoid the unemployment line in bad economic times. Even if you have the best skills in the world, but complain all of the time, you make yourself more likely to be let go. When you are at work, give it your full effort and go the extra mile. If someone asks you to do something or help them with something, do it without complaining. Also, when you have free time, be proactive about looking for things to do. Try to find processes or procedures that can be streamlined or improved. Be a servant leader. Be the example for everyone else to follow whether you are the janitor or the company president.
The best way to overcome unemployment is to avoid becoming unemployed in the first place. Develop niche skills in as many areas that you can. Keep up on the latest technology and work your butt off every day with a great attitude. If you do become unemployed, do not spend more than a day feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and look for work. Most of all, do not give up!
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 21, 2015:
Great hub, Eric. Great tips on how to get your feet back on the ground to look for work. I've been unemployed for a lot of years and couldn't find work with my job counselor and job coach. I've gotten a couple of job interviews which didn't pan out in the end. Voted up!
loveafrica on March 12, 2015:
Depending on the person, maybe becoming unemployed is the Universe's way of telling you to try to create employment instead of looking for it. I know it sounds a little crazy to some degree, but one way to solve the issue of unemployment is to start your own venture. the odds are heavily against your success, but the experience you gain from that will be to your advantage whether your venture works out or not
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 25, 2015:
I have never been unemployed but I have friends who went through this and your tips are spot on.
actionbronson on December 05, 2012:
Great hub with good advice! Very well written
honeybee2u from PNG on November 13, 2012:
Great tips and advice presented in this well-written hub.
Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on October 30, 2012:
All great advice within this well written hub to help anyone to overcome being unemployed .
Vote up and more !!!
Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on October 30, 2012:
Excellent hub Eric. I think that volunteering for a non profit is also a geed idea. It puts an unemployed person into circulation and creates potential job prospects. It also gets a person out of the house, a very important thing. Voted up useful and awesome