Unemployment May be Hazardous to Our Health


unemployment 9How is our nation’s economy doing? Well, from my, and millions of other Americans who are unemployed, vantage point, not so hot.

But, hey, boys and girls…there’s Good News! According to “the experts”, the Recession was over in 2009.

So, what is this massive, painful unemployment our nation is still experiencing? A Hangover?

The New York Times reports that

Recessions are always painful, but the Great Recession that ran from late 2007 to the middle of 2009 may have inflicted a new kind of pain: an era of slower growth.

It has been five years since the official end of that severe economic downturn. The nation’s total annual output has moved substantially above the prerecession peak, but economic growth has averaged only about 2 percent a year, well below its historical average. Household incomes continue to stagnate, and millions of Americans still can’t find jobs. And a growing number of experts see evidence that the economy will never rebound completely.

For more than a century, the pace of growth was reliably resilient, bouncing back after recessions like a car returning to its cruising speed after a roadblock. Even after the prolonged Great Depression of the 1930s, growth eventually returned to an average pace of more than 3 percent a year. But Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said on Wednesday that the government now expected annual growth to average just 2.1 percent, about two-thirds of the previous pace.

“Many today wonder whether something that has always been true in our past will be true in our future,” Mr. Lew told members of the Economic Club of New York. “There are questions about whether America can maintain strong rates of growth and doubts about whether the benefits of technology, innovation and prosperity will be shared broadly.”

The most recent recession and the slow recovery have “left lasting scars on the economy,” the Labor Department concluded late last year in a report that declared slower growth “the new normal” for the American economy. The Federal Reserve, persistently optimistic in its previous forecasts, said in March that it no longer expected a full recovery in the foreseeable future.

Lawrence H. Summers, formerly President Obama’s chief economic adviser and now a leading member of this Cassandra chorus, has warned that growth may fall short of expectations unless the federal government increases its spending on things like upgrading deteriorating roads and bridges and the development of new technologies. “A soft economy casts a substantial shadow forward onto the economy’s future output and potential,” he said in a speech in April.

So, we’re presently peering down a long, dark tunnel, with a light at the end of it, that may or may not be an oncoming train.

And, to add to our misery, being unemployed can actually be detrimental to your health.

Many Americans become so depressed, that they find it extremely difficult to pull themselves out of the abyss of rejection and hopelessness.

Additionally, I am finding that sitting all day, searching the Worldwide Web for employment, can cause one to gain weight, simply from the lack of physical exertion.

So, with the economy in a slow (to the point of being lethargic) “recovery”, what can those of us trying to find gainful employment do to fight these personal challenges which accompany long-term unemployment?

Well, the bad new is: There’s no easy solution in a down economy. Everyone who is out of work suffers, even those who are young and well-qualified.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to focus on making the most of the job search, expanding one’s geographic and career horizons, and focusing on the specific steps it’s going to take to make something happen.

That could mean going back to school or learning some new skills, such as expertise in the New Technology, in order to be more attractive to potential employers and to be more competitive in the marketplace.

Improving your chances at employment may even involve moving to a city or state where the unemployment rate is significantly lower (if you can still afford to).

The important thing is to find things you can do that may help, and get started on those.

You are not your job. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you may find new work around the corner.


– Allen


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