Career Calling

January 15, 2014

More of the Same Old Scary Numbers

I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard a commentator moan: “There are seven people looking for every available job.”  His point was that the economy is bad and getting worse.  He wants the government to be more proactive in helping working people and middle class.  I agree that the government can and should do more.  However, we progressives and liberals should make that argument without using hyperbolic statistics.

As I’ve seen the statistics used, the 7:1 ratio refers to workers seeking jobs that pay more than $15 an hour.  This is not good news, but it’s not all job seekers.  That ratio is closer to 3:1.  Again, not good, but not numbers that say: “There are no jobs.”  The challenge for most workers in 2014, especially for young people, is finding a job that pays a living wage and provides some decent level of benefits.

For many workers, that challenge will not be available immediately.  It will be necessary to take a bad job.  The key is to keep the time in that job as short as possible.  Anyone who has the skills, knowledge, and experience needs to keep the job search going until she finds the right kind of work.  It will not be easy in this economy, but it is possible if the job search is followed in a patient, persistent manner.  Don’t let the scary numbers send you into job search paralysis.  Stay focused and don’t quit – that’s the goal for 2014.


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