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Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Paragraphs that scare me

By Ezra Klein

The longer you've been unemployed, the harder it is to find new work:

People who have been out of work for five weeks have a monthly reemployment rate of about 31 percent. People who have been out of work for a year have a monthly reemployment rate of 8.7 percent. Presumably, people who have been out of work for more than 99 weeks have a reemployment rate somewhat lower than that.

Some of this may be correlation, not causation: The people who aren't finding work quickly are in areas where there is no work, say. But some of it may be causation, or, to use the more worrying term, "hysteresis."

By Ezra Klein  | January 3, 2011; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  Economy  
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Comments

As a former executive recruiter, I can assure you that employers only want those who are already working. It's even worse during a recession, because they assume it's now a buyer's market and why should they take someone else's castoffs? Not logical, not humane -- but very common.

Posted by: uberblonde1 | January 3, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

This, and lots of things bad more expensive when you're poor, make for vicious cycles.

Like my personal pet peeve: Employers who check applicants' credit (for non-money-handling jobs).

So you can get laid off, fall on hard times, have trouble keeping up with bills, which makes it harder to get a new job, which makes it harder to keep up with bills, ...

Posted by: mutterc | January 3, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Unemploymnet isn't going below 9% this year, because it has become systemic in nature, not episodic. I told you that months ago, but you never listen to me! LOL

Posted by: 54465446 | January 3, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Presumably, people who have been out of work for more than 99 weeks have a reemployment rate somewhat lower than that."

Presumably, people who have been out of work for more than 99 weeks have a... chip on their shoulder.

Posted by: RisingTideLiftsAllBoats | January 3, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I believe it's causation. For 99ers, 2 years of lost experience and diminishing skills. I wish work programs had been a larger part of the stimulus over the past 2 years.

Also the Build America Bonds are expiring.

Yes it is scary.

Posted by: Mazzi455 | January 3, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Don't give up your day job. You'll never get it back, especially when you pass 50. That's about when age discrimination kicks in and you're considered too old, too slow, to expensive.

That's about the time you begin to doubt everything you believed about the American Way.

Posted by: tomcammarata | January 3, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Don't give up your day job. You'll never get it back, especially when you pass 50. That's about when age discrimination kicks in and you're considered too old, too slow, too expensive.

That's about the time you begin to doubt everything you believed about the American Way.

Posted by: tomcammarata | January 3, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ditto tomcammarata- age discrimination is a part of it; not just too old, too expensive, or too slow, but also too set in your ways and unable to adapt.

I have a law degree and I think that hurts too. I cringe when I hear education is the key to finding a job. Over education can hurt your chances too.

Posted by: punchaxverulam | January 3, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

What's really amusing is how these unemployed people continue supporting the Unemployment King Obama.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 3, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Some of this may be correlation, not causation: The people who aren't finding work quickly are in areas where there is no work, say."

Or, the people who aren't finding work quickly have less to offer employers that is worth the expense of paying them?

Posted by: staticvars | January 4, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

punchaxverulam: age discrimination is a part of it; not just too old, too expensive, or too slow, but also too set in your ways and unable to adapt.
---------------------------------------------
I have been unemployed since September 2009 - I have made ends meet by tutoring (I have a MS in Computer Science - 1998). I tutor graduate and undergraduate students who have difficulty writing computer programs or in some cases understanding class material. Virtually all of my students are employed or on an intern track while they pursue their studies and almost always younger than myself (in fact I have had only two students older than myself). I have had students from most of the colleges and universities in the DC area.

I am stunned by perceived age discrimination. There is no effective way to counter these kinds of cultural myths. Now to add to that bag of lies the labels "too set in your ways and unable to adapt" - I just have no idea how to prepare a defense against that sort of thing (it really shouldn't be necessary to start with).

Then there's the canard about skills loss due to unemployment. The only thing I've lost is time creating new software artifacts for government or industry (I've worked in both). My skills are far in excess of entry-level or intermediate software engineers and I would imagine are still at a senior level (I have always solved problems in organizations that other people couldn't solve or they produced a solution that had significant problems). But people I interview with don't know that having not experienced the solutions I have created and anyway it has been demonstrated that hiring managers can't really determine how productive or creative a software engineer actually is. So what I'm doing is creating an online portfolio of active projects but I can't force people to go to it as part of the interview process.

As I was writing this a CBS Sunday Morning Show thing on middle school bullying came on. Well, US society is all about the exercise of social power so perhaps the 2008 Depression has really triggered this deeply with adults just executing simple, unexamined social rules with greater intensity than before the depression resulting in exacerbated age discrimination behavior. Otherwise it has always been the case that people's work lives in the US were over around 50 and this was an unspoken secret.

Posted by: kirtu | January 9, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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