Americans now consider unemployment the country’s Number 1 problem.
The finding comes in a Gallup poll conducted February 6-9.
Twenty-three percent now consider unemployment the greatest challenge facing the nation, while only 16% said the same in January.
Only 63% of working-age Americans are now employed or seeking work–the lowest share of the population making up the labor force since 1978.
Among the proposals offered for creating jobs:
- Steering more students into technical schools.
- Improving efforts to guide students into fields where the jobs are.
- Helping small busineses find foreign customers.
- Welcoming more immigrants.
- Creating a national jobs database.
- Rewarding companies that hire the long-term unemployed.
Yet none of these proposed solutions addresses the single greatest reason for America’s continuing unemployment problem: The refusal of American employers to hire American job-seekers.
An article in the March, 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest gives the lie to the excuses so many employers use for refusing to hire.
Entitled “22 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You About Getting a Job,” it lays bare many of the reasons why America needs to legally force employers to demonstrate as much responsibility for hiring as job-seekers are expected to show toward searching for work.
Among the truths it reveals:
- Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered unemployable.
- It’s not what but who you know that counts.
- Try to avoid HR and seek out someone in the company you know. If you don’t know anyone, go straight to the hiring manager.
- Don’t assume that someone will read your cover letter. Many of them go straight into the garbage can.
- You will be judged on the basis of your email address–especially if it’s something like “Igetwasted@aol.com.”
- If you’re in your 50s or 60s, protect yourself against age discrimination by leaving your year of graduation off your resume.
- Many managers don’t want to hire people with children, and will go to illegal lengths to find out their parental status–like checking an applicant’s car for child safety seats.
- It’s harder to get a job if you’re fat. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes.
- Many managers will assume you’re a loser if you give them a weak handshake.
- Encourage the interviewer to talk–especially about himself. Ego-driven interviewers love hearing the sound of their own voices and will assume you’re better-qualified than someone who doesn’t want to listen to them prattle.
Millions of Americans continue to blame President Barack Obama for the nation’s high unemployment rate. But no President can hope to turn unemployment around until employers are forced to start living up to their responsibilities.
And those responsibilities should encompass more than simply fattening their own pocketbooks and/or egos at the expense of their fellow Americans. Such behavior used to be called treason.
It’s time to recognize that a country can be betrayed for other than political reasons. It can be sold out for economic ones, to
Employers who enrich themselves by weakening their country—by throwing millions of qualified workers into the street and moving their plants to other countries—are traitors.
Employers who set up offshore accounts to claim their American companies are foreign-owned—and thus exempt from taxes—are traitors.
Employers who systematically violate Federal immigration laws–to hire illegal aliens instead of willing-to-work Americans–-are traitors.
In its June 8, 2011 cover-story on “What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths,” Time magazine warned that profit-seeking corporations can’t be relied on to ”make it all better.”
Wrote Rana Foroohar, Time‘s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business:
“There is a fundamental disconnect between the fortunes of American companies, which are doing quite well, and American workers, most of whom are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession.
“The thing is, companies make plenty of money; they just don’t spend it on workers here.
“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”
In short: Giving even greater tax breaks to mega-corporations–the standard Republican mantra–has not persuaded them to stop “outsourcing” jobs. Nor has it convinced them to start hiring Americans.
While embarrassingly overpaid CEOs squander corporate wealth on themselves, millions of Americans can’t afford medical care or must depend on charity to feed their families.
Yet there is also a disconnect between the truth of this situation and the willingness of Americans to face up to that truth.
“The Republicans have pulled off a major (some would say cynical) miracle,” writes Foroohar.
They have convinced “the majority of Americans that the way to jump-start the economy is to slash taxes on the wealthy and on cash-hoarding corporations while cutting benefits for millions of Americans.
“It’s fun-house math that can’t work. We’ll need both tax increases and sensible entitlement cuts to get back on track.”