Series Note: Jobs are one of the most important aspects of a morally functioning economy. They help us serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing both for the individual and for communities. Conversely, not having a job can adversely affect spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals and families.
A 2011 study of the long-term unemployed published by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that half of participants experienced shame and embarrassment that led them to isolate themselves from friends and associates. Among the long-term unemployed, 31.1 percent reported spending two hours or less with family or friends the previous day, versus 21.5 percent among short-term unemployed adults.
Because unemployment is a spiritual problem, Christians in America need to understand and be aware of the monthly data on employment. Each month I’ll highlight the latest numbers we need to know (see also: What Christians Should Know About Unemployment).
Positive news is marked with the plus sign (+) while negative employment data is marked with a minus sign (-). No change is marked by (NC).
Unemployment rate (+): declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.9
Total number unemployed (+): decreased by 329,000 to 9.3 million.
Employment-population ratio (NC): 59.0 percent.
Change by worker groups: adult men (+), adult women (-), teenagers (-), blacks (-), whites (+), and Hispanics (+).
Long-term unemployed (NC): 3 million.
Civilian labor force participation rate (-): 62.7 percent, the lowest rate since 1978.
Persons employed part time for economic reasons (NC): 7.1 million.
Discouraged workers (+): 698,000.
Unemployment: According to the federal government, to be unemployed a person must (a) be jobless, (b) looking for a job, and (c) available for work.People are considered employed if they have a job (whether temporary, part-time, etc.). People who are neither employed nor unemployed are considered to be not in the labor force.
Unemployment rate: Calculated by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labor force.
Total number unemployed: number of people unemployed in America in the previous month.
Employment-population ratio: measures the proportion of the country’s working-age population (ages 16 to 64) that is employed. This number includes people that have stopped looking for work.
Change by worker groups: whether the number of unemployed in that group increased or decreased.
Long-term unemployed: People who have been unemployed for 12 months or longer.
Civilian labor force participation rate: share of the population 16 years and older working or seeking work.
Persons employed part time for economic reasons: individuals who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Discouraged workers: unemployed individuals who have stopped looking for work for one of four reasons:
1. They believe no job is available to them in their line of work or area.
2. They had previously been unable to find work.
3. They lack the necessary schooling, training, skills, or experience.
4. Employers think they are too young or too old, or they face some other type of discrimination.