The U.S. unemployment rate remains at 7.8% with a record number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after initial aid increased 87,000 to 3.21 million in the week ending January. Though generally supportive of unemployment benefits, the U.S. Labor Department to taking notice of those on long term unemployment benefits, concerned about the job future of these individuals.
The reality is that the longer a person remains unemployed and collecting benefits, the more difficult it will be to find a new job. This will cause many to just give up looking and exhaust their unemployment benefits while ending up on welfare. I know this is not the intent of most, but is happening more often than anyone would like to admit.
Workers who continue to collect long-term unemployment run the risk of being “unemployable” and ultimately be forced to apply for welfare benefits or if old enough for social security disability benefits. This trend is the most pressing issue in our economy as many displaced workers have been collecting unemployment benefits for three to four years, now.
Has the job market abandoned them? Are they employable and what will it take to get them hired? What training and education is needed and who will pay for it? These are the questions the U.S. government is beginning to address as the long-term unemployed get left behind. The number of initial claim continues to decrease and the time spent getting a new job shortens for the newly unemployed.
Living on unemployment benefits on a long term basis is not acceptable for most. This new government entitlement “unemployment welfare” in the end only hurts the workers and keeps them from realizing their full potential in life. Dreams are lost as more people give up. My suggestion is to get off your unemployment benefits as quickly as possible even if you have to work at Starbucks. Get back into the job market as quickly as possible.
Cut back your expenses as much as you are able when collecting unemployment benefits. Arrange to stay with a friend or family member and save as much as you can of your weekly unemployment check to be used for training and education. I collected unemployment benefits when I was laid off from a job selling radio time and decided to change careers after getting laid off three times in four years. I gave up my studio apartment which I loved and moved in with two girls, until I could get settled into a new career.
The longer you wait for the same job you had before you were laid off, the harder it will be to get a job in your given field. We all live in a “world employment market” with people who have current skills and experience. Companies will hire them first.
Get out there and work two jobs, if needed, to get off cycle of collecting unemployment benefits which were never meant to be long-term. You will be helping your career in the long term, regain your self-esteem and begin to work toward a new future.