If you are currently unemployed, you might not want to look at the chart I am about to show you. In fact, even those who have jobs are likely to get quite depressed after looking at it. Why? Well, because it shows that long-term unemployment in the United States continues to get much worse. Millions of middle class Americans have been dumped out of their jobs over the past two or three years, and they can’t seem to find equivalent jobs no matter how hard they try. Millions have given up on finding something that will pay about the same and have resorted to flipping burgers or greeting customers down at the local “big box” store. Millions of others can’t seem to get hired anywhere. The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore. Today, there are about 6 unemployed Americans for every single job opening in the United States. It is almost as if tens of millions of American workers have been forced into a very sick version of musical chairs where there are not nearly enough chairs for everyone. Unfortunately, the losers in this game are likely to lose their homes, their dignity and any chance at achieving the American Dream. The truth is that things are getting really bad out there. According to one disturbing new survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job. That is not just a problem – that is a national crisis.
The following is the chart I warned you about at the beginning of the article. It shows how the percentage of the unemployed who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more is absolutely skyrocketing….
Just a few years ago, in 2007, the percentage of unemployed workers who had been out of work for 27 weeks or more was under 20 percent.
Now it has more than doubled.
In fact, according to the most recent numbers, 46.2 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
Not only that, but the average time needed to find a job in the United States has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
The truth is that it is NOT easy for most people to find a job out there right now.
The failing economy has created a vast group of chronically unemployed Americans who are losing hope fast.
According to a recently released survey from the Pew Research Center, 46% of those unemployed for at least six months say unemployment has strained family relations, and 43% of them say that they have lost contact with close friends.
If you have ever experienced it, then you probably know just how soul-crushing long-term unemployment can be. Your family looks at you differently. Your friends look at you differently. Some people don’t even want to be around you anymore. Others just look at you with pity.
It is a really, really hard place to be.
Unfortunately, more Americans than ever are going through some sort of employment difficulty. Another recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.
Without good jobs, an increasing number of American families are finding it very difficult to make it each month. A record number of Americans are going bankrupt. A record number of Americans are losing their homes.
In fact, approximately 18.9 million homes in the U.S. stood empty during the second quarter of 2010.
Can you imagine that?
Nearly 20 million good homes are just sitting there completely unoccupied.
So how did this happen?
Well, there are a lot of reasons for our economic troubles, but a big one is that the big predator corporations that dominate our economy simply do not need that many American workers any longer.
In his recent article for Salon entitled “Are the American people obsolete?”, Michael Lind described how this paradigm has fundamentally shifted….
The offshoring of industrial production means that many American investors and corporate managers no longer need an American workforce in order to prosper. They can enjoy their stream of profits from factories in China while shutting down factories in the U.S. And if Chinese workers have the impertinence to demand higher wages, American corporations can find low-wage labor in other countries.
The truth is that the game has changed. Once upon a time, wealthy Americans had to hire other Americans to make their factories and businesses go. But that is no longer the case. In a previous article, I attempted to communicate just how much the global landscape has changed….
As you read this, there are tens of millions of people in China, India and dozens of third world nations who would love to do your job for one-tenth the pay. They are willing to work 12 hours a day. They don’t expect a benefits plan or a pension package. They aren’t going to waste countless hours chatting on their cell phones or updating their Facebook profiles. All they want is a chance. And increasingly, the big global corporations that dominate the world economy are giving it to them. It is called outsourcing, and if you don’t believe that it can happen to your job, you might want to think again.
Because of the foolish decisions that we have made, future generations of Americans are not going to be able to count on the U.S. economy being able to produce tens of millions of middle class American jobs.
American workers are just not very attractive to global corporations any longer. It just doesn’t make economic sense to pay American workers ten times more. So the truth is that the standard of living for middle class Americans is not going to go anywhere but down.
Already, there are dozens of statistics that show that the middle class is systematically being wiped out in America. The majority of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to get by. The truth is that most people today are only a few months (or even a few weeks) from financial disaster.
So what should we all do?
Well, we all need to start reading the handwriting on the wall. Very hard economic times are ahead. The good jobs that have been shipped overseas are never coming back. We all need to try to become less dependent on “the system” and learn to take care of ourselves.
It’s a jungle out there, and things are not going to get any easier. Hard times are coming and it is time for everyone to get prepared.