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The jobless rate for people like you
November 9, 2009 6:33 PM   Subscribe

The jobless rate for people like you.
posted by Afroblanco (113 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
The really sad thing is that I already knew how to max out the unemployment graph. Black Male, age 15 - 24, didn't graduate high school. Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5% -- an unemployment rate that has probably never been seen outside of certain areas in Weimar Germany.
posted by Avenger at 6:41 PM on November 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


8.9% for my group, 3.6% for my wife's. But she's unemployed, and I am not. Just more evidence that I'm boring and she is exceptional.
posted by davejay at 6:42 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Relevant for Metafilter Plurality: For white men ages 25 to 44 with a college degree: 3.9%
posted by leotrotsky at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


The robots that took your job were probably written in perl.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:45 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm stunned that my bracket has such a low rate, given how many people I know in my bracket that are unemployed.
posted by hackly_fracture at 6:45 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


People like me have a 100% employment rate.

(I have a job and I am a special snowflake)
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:47 PM on November 9, 2009


Cool graph.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:49 PM on November 9, 2009


*Pats his invisble backpack*
posted by Talez at 6:52 PM on November 9, 2009 [19 favorites]


Another awesome use of multimedia (and, gasp, Flash) by NYTimes.com.

My demographic (tubby late-20s white guys with college degrees) is at 3.4%. This reinforces my belief that this recession will exacerbate economic inequality in the U.S. Perhaps all recessions do, but I read recently that this one is unusual in that there haven't been that many layoffs, all things considered- the larger force behind unemployment is that businesses aren't hiring. It's going to be years before we get back to 6% unemployment, and lately I'm wondering if we ever will, considering that when you account for people that would like a job but aren't looking (U-5), the unemployment rate rises from 10.2% to to 11.6%. Meanwhile, the groups that are bearing the brunt of this recessions, such as recent college graduates, are losing years of work experience from which they may never recover.
posted by gsteff at 6:53 PM on November 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Er, I meant 3.9%.
posted by gsteff at 6:53 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, the white version of me is much more likely to have a job. Huh. Imagine that.
posted by naju at 6:55 PM on November 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile, the groups that are bearing the brunt of this recessions, such as recent college graduates, are losing years of work experience from which they may never recover.

Yes, but Gen-Xers are supposed to be choking under the yoke of the Baby Boomers who never plan to reture so it evens out, except for baby boomers who continue to soak everyone until they're all dead.

So go shoot some old people, recent college grads.
posted by GuyZero at 6:56 PM on November 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't mean to sound disingenuous, but don't MOST people under the age of 18 fall into the "not a high school graduate" category, male, female, whatever? I know there will always be exceptions, i.e. those that have their GEDs and who graduated early... shouldn't some of these numbers be disproportionately skewed to account for full-time students?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:02 PM on November 9, 2009


Generally full-time students don't count for unemployment numbers. It only measures people actively looking for work. If you include those who've given up looking or are under-employed, the overall number is closer to 2% apparently.
posted by GuyZero at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


er, 20%
posted by GuyZero at 7:05 PM on November 9, 2009


Well, they totally forgot people with disabilities (those who can and want to be in the workforce) which holds steady at around 70%. But I guess the big, huge gap that you would have to scroll between us and everyone else would make the page almost unreadable.
posted by Bueller at 7:05 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I confess I don't understand the "15-24" demographic. Aren't 15-year-olds supposed to be in school, by (most states') law?
posted by philokalia at 7:07 PM on November 9, 2009


I confess I don't understand the "15-24" demographic. Aren't 15-year-olds supposed to be in school, by (most states') law?

Doesn't matter, students aren't in the workforce anyways.
posted by floam at 7:10 PM on November 9, 2009


(and in some states, you can drop out at age 15, so it makes sense to include it.)
posted by floam at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2009


The robots that took your job were probably written in perl.

I'll see those sigil-loving bastards in hell.
posted by Kikkoman at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5% -- an unemployment rate that has probably never been seen outside of certain areas in Weimar Germany.

Accurate figures are hard to find but here's some rough figures:

Young non-white immigrants in France (~40%), aboriginals in Australia (40-50%), young First Nations youths in Canada (41%), black immigrants in the UK (~40% @16-19 down to 27.1% for 20-24) and The Netherlands (40%).

Stratospheric unemployment rates of the youth of a society's underclass is not a uniquely American phenomenon.
posted by Talez at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


Bueller, I was shocked when I read your comment and these are the statistics I found for people with disabilities. However, this doesn't show anything like ethnic background, age, location, etc.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:13 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I meant "labor force", when I said workforce.
posted by floam at 7:14 PM on November 9, 2009


This does not show the jobless rate for people like me (who don't live in the US) at all.
posted by Dysk at 7:18 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I demand more granularity! This doesn't speak to me until it can tell me the unemployment rate of Icelandic Green Card-carrying males in their 20s in Rhode Island.* I am a unique individual and demand to be treated as one. Anything else is an affront, I say, AN AFFRONT to the rights and dignity of ALL HUMAN BEINGS who... uh... sorry about that, I was exposed to the John Adams miniseries tonight and some Enlightenment fervor seems to have bled into my brain.


* 100% as far as I can tell, unless there's another one somewhere.
posted by Kattullus at 7:18 PM on November 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Let's see... hmm... where does it tell me the jobless rate for people who are unemployed like me?
posted by koeselitz at 7:20 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only 3.6 for me, but I've been looking for a job unsuccessfully for months. I guess someone has to be one of the 3.6%.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:21 PM on November 9, 2009


Ever since the Nixon administration the government has been progressively cooking the books on the official lowdown on the economy. Now they’re well done.
posted by Huplescat at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


There are 15 year olds with college degrees?
posted by sien at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2009


There are people who fall into the 15-24 demographic with college degrees.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:30 PM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


years of work experience from which they may never recover

How much does a loaf of bread or gallon of milk cost in work experience?

I'm a high-school graduate, single parent who (along with 800 co-workers) got laid off from my $25K/yr (before taxes and ripoff health plan) job 2 months ago when my employer decided they could do it cheaper in the third world. And moving in with friends is a tough sell when you've got a 3-year old in tow.

If some middle-class white people with college degrees miss out on a couple gigs to pad their resume with on their way to making bank, I've got nary a fuck to give.
posted by hamida2242 at 7:35 PM on November 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


When it comes to 15 year olds in the U.S. workforce, I was actually reminded of those gigantic posters they're supposed to hang in your workplace's break room that reminds you of what the minimum wage is and your other rights. One of the things on that poster (my Google-fu is failing me) is the fact that people who are younger than 16 but older than 14 but working on a farm are subject to different rules than teenagers who aren't working on a farm.

So yes, it is very likely that there are 15-year olds without a high school diploma who are full-fledged members of the workforce.
posted by TrishaLynn at 7:40 PM on November 9, 2009


All I know about the jobless rate is that everyone I know is jobless or invovled with someone without a job and everyone else knows someone without a job.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on November 9, 2009


There's a shitload of 15-year olds working as hard or harder than most adults in the US, but the government pretended like they didn't exist before the recession so there's no reason to expect them to do otherwise now.

(Hint: they're why your strawberries are so cheap).
posted by hamida2242 at 7:43 PM on November 9, 2009


Stratospheric unemployment rates of the youth of a society's underclass is not a uniquely American phenomenon.

And if you've ever wondered why crime rates are so high among the youth of a society's underclass THIS. IS. WHY.

When you have no job, no prospects for a job, and you look around and everyone you know has no job and no prospects of a job, what the fuck else are you going to do?
posted by dersins at 7:43 PM on November 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


This article made me think more about it, and I don't actually know anyone who doesn't have a job... strange. Most of the people I know are on the lower strata of that thing, though.

After further thought, being in the teaching profession means I know lots of teachers, and even the ones who don't have a full-time position are subbing, so working... and after teaching for 10 years or so you're pretty much golden.
posted by Huck500 at 7:54 PM on November 9, 2009


Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5% -- an unemployment rate that has probably never been seen outside of certain areas in Weimar Germany.

Weimar Germany didn't turn out so well for Germany. Maybe it's time to push Obama to fulfill a campaign promise to at least offer an alternative path for America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:54 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I got the best score, but it won't let me enter my name.
I won the recession! W00t!
posted by Methylviolet at 7:55 PM on November 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


Black Male, age 15 - 24, didn't graduate high school. Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5%

I wonder how many are in prison, and are they counted as "unemployed?" I'm not saying that's a good thing; just wondering how much that would contribute to the eye-popping, spit-taking, man-we-are-in-deep-shit-aren't-we, are-you-fraking-kidding me 48.5 figure.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:58 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many are in prison, and are they counted as "unemployed?"

I wonder how many, overall, are in prison for non-violent drug offenses.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:00 PM on November 9, 2009


I wonder how many are in prison, and are they counted as "unemployed?"

People in prison, sick people, etc. aren't in the labor force, and therefore aren't unemployed. Further, people that are in the labor force but haven't looked for a job in the last month aren't participating workers, and are also not unemployed.
posted by floam at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5% -- an unemployment rate that has probably never been seen outside of certain areas in Weimar Germany.

I wish it were true. But unemployment for Roma today often approaches 100% in many areas of Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. (And elsewhere too, I'm sure.) Since the fall of Communism, which did a better job of offering employment to Roma than free-market capitalism has, national rates have often been in the 60% - 70% range.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Broader Measure of U.S. Unemployment Stands at 17.5%.
posted by Wordwoman at 8:03 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many are in prison, and are they counted as "unemployed?" I'm not saying that's a good thing; just wondering how much that would contribute to the eye-popping, spit-taking, man-we-are-in-deep-shit-aren't-we, are-you-fraking-kidding me 48.5 figure.

This document (though from 1994) claims that they aren't. And given that roughly 10% of black males between 20 and 35 are in prison, if you include the incarcerated as unemployed, that 48.5% number would probably be quite a bit higher.
posted by gsteff at 8:11 PM on November 9, 2009


Black Male, age 15 - 24, didn't graduate high school. Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5%

What can I do about this?

I'm finished with hand-wringing. Someone who is more intimately acquainted with this problem tell me what I as an individual need to be doing to correct this problem. Please assume that no response is too obvious.
posted by jefficator at 8:38 PM on November 9, 2009


jefficator wrote Someone who is more intimately acquainted with this problem tell me what I as an individual need to be doing to correct this problem. Please assume that no response is too obvious.

I have been reading and thinking seriously about this issue for a couple of years, and I still don't have an answer to this. I know some things that can help an individual--maybe--like literacy programs. But addressing the systemic problems?

A few years ago I read Random Family (Amazon link), which follows a poor family in the Bronx for ten years. It was really eye-opening as well as a fascinating page-turner of a read--and by about halfway through, I was ready to put every 11-year-old in the city on some kind of long-term subcutaneous hormonal birth control. Like, "if we could just keep one generation from getting pregnant until they'd graduated from high school..."

Not that I really would do such a thing. But I developed a certain sympathy for strongly interventionist policies like that. Every mother was saying, "I don't want my daughter to do like I did," and every girl was getting pregnant--there's an embedded culture there that individuals can't get out of, for the most part, even if they want to.

it's a great read that won't answer your question. But you might find it eye-opening nonetheless.
posted by not that girl at 8:50 PM on November 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


"nary a fuck to give" is my new favourite expression-thanks, hamida2242. And I hope you find employment soon.
posted by Go Banana at 9:01 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone who is more intimately acquainted with this problem tell me what I as an individual need to be doing to correct this problem. Please assume that no response is too obvious.

Overthrow capitalism. Yeah, the "how" of that is tough, but given that there's little social mobility in the US (it's about the same as in Britain), this means those who have nothing will continue to have nothing. Either we redistribute wealth, or we continue to live in a country where poverty is racially disproportionate.
posted by shetterly at 9:05 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unemployment figures are just talking about how many people are looking for a job but are not working, right? So if you don't want a job, then you don't count.

Back in the fifties, I don't know what the unemployment rate was, but very few women worked. At the very least, far fewer women worked then than now. With most women working now, it would seem that the number of people looking for a job is probably nearly double what it was in the fifties. Why do we assume that the number of jobs available will magically double along with the people looking? I am no economist, but are jobs supposed to exist merely because people want them?
posted by flarbuse at 9:13 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do you mean, "people like you?"
posted by Pronoiac at 9:19 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


@not that girl: I'd never heard of Random Family before - I'll have to check it out. David Simon's The Corner covers a similar story of a drug addicted family living in West Baltimore, and is a really great book.
posted by codacorolla at 9:21 PM on November 9, 2009


Random Family is really good.
posted by escabeche at 9:23 PM on November 9, 2009


I know some things that can help an individual--maybe--like literacy programs. But addressing the systemic problems?

So it seems the problem requires both man-to-man coverage and zone defense simultaneously? One effort to combat problems faced by individuals, and one effort to combat systemic problems?

I recall a Times article about a NYC charter school making significant progress because the teachers positively insisted that male students wear ties. They were dogmatic about the details, figuring that discipline on the small things would imply discipline on the big things. Apparently this charter school narrowed the achievement gap tremendously.

The Random Family link looks spot on. Please, please suggest more.
posted by jefficator at 9:28 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


flarbuse, people who work generate work for others. It's how growth works and how recessions happen. It's how stimulus spending works (if it does). When you factor in population growth, the number of potential jobs now available is much higher than it was in the '50s. So, no, jobs don't exist just because people want them, but in a properly functioning economy there should be very close to as many jobs available as there are people who want them.

Women in the workforce increase the size of that workforce without affecting the rate of employment. Same goes for immigrants. (Ceteris paribus; some occupations generate less domestic work than others and of course women and immigrants tend to be over represented in some areas and under represented in others).
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:29 PM on November 9, 2009


I don't need no stinkin JOB!
posted by HTuttle at 9:40 PM on November 9, 2009


Also, flarbus, a great many women did work in the 50s; the happy white middle-class Levittown types were only a small slice of the true America. Women have always been a major part of the workforce, they were just usually considered lower-class types and so ignored.

And as others said; women start businesses, too, you know, and increase productivity/create jobs. It's not zero-sum.
posted by emjaybee at 10:27 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And if you've ever wondered why crime rates are so high among the youth of a society's underclass THIS. IS. WHY.

Come on now, let's put this in perspective. The economy sucks by any objective standard, yes, but when we tally up the unemployed it's not reasonable to believe that most of those people would literally be out on the street starving if they didn't resort to crime. Most if not all states have unemployment laws where they can't force you to take a job making x% less than the avg. you made for the period they're basing your benefit amounts off of (ie. if you made $15/hr an hour last year they can't force you to take a job making $8/hr, at least not until your benefits run out), so for the vast majority of people on the wrong side of these statistics it's not that they couldn't get a job at any pay level, period, it's that they aren't finding work at a pay level that is equal to or greater than what they would make off unemployment.

To be clear, I'm not making light of anyone's inability to find work at a pay level commensurate to their experience, and I'm not saying they should be forced to take a job for less than what UI pays, but I'm most definitely taking exception to your insinuation that a 10% unemployment level is a reasonable cause for today's youth to resort to crime. Minimum wage jobs are still a dime a dozen like they've always been, so it makes no more sense to say that unemployment is a valid (if regrettable) cause of crime than it would be for those same teenagers in boom years to say "I could make $80k/yr selling crack or $30k/yr after four years of college". Talk about giving liberals a bad name...
posted by squeakyfromme at 10:31 PM on November 9, 2009


To be honest, I'm not too worried about my personal unemployment rate (It's currently hovering around 100%) so long as I can get money. After all, I've been unemployed for billions of years before my first job, and I'll be unemployed for billions more after I retire. I understand that corporations are afraid to hire new employees, so I'm thinking I might help them cope with the anxiety by sending me a small sum of money so that I won't send them a resume or ask for a job in any way.

This is a good thing for them, as they don't have to process a resume and hem and haw over whether or not they should expand in response to the recent green shoots. And it's a good thing for me, as I don't need to write a resume or come in for awkward interviews. We both benefit, so it's a good trade. Econ 101.

Considering that there are over 250,000 small businesses that hire employees in my state, and that about 70% of the businesses in my state are small businesses, this means that about 355,000 companies total could be paying me to leave them alone. If I just ask for 50 cents per month, I get $2.1 million a year.

Further, I'm still technically unemployed relative to most of the companies even if I do get a job. I'd still be an unemployed person, I'd just happen to have just one more job than the guy in the unemployment line, so I could still make some decent cash.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:31 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


People in prison, sick people, etc. aren't in the labor force, and therefore aren't unemployed. Further, people that are in the labor force but haven't looked for a job in the last month aren't participating workers, and are also not unemployed.

I knew this much, but I do wonder how they account for people whose UI benefits have run out and are no longer bothering to actively search for work through the local workforce commission. Maybe some states are better than others but I've had plenty of dealings with the Texas Workforce Commission and holy shit is that the least efficient way to find a job. Put it this way, they make Monster.com look like a steel factory circa 1943.

Point being, "people that are in the labor force but haven't looked for a job in the last month" probably includes a fair amount of people who HAVE sent out resumes but have done so "off the grid", so to speak.
posted by squeakyfromme at 10:38 PM on November 9, 2009


Point being, "people that are in the labor force but haven't looked for a job in the last month" probably includes a fair amount of people who HAVE sent out resumes but have done so "off the grid", so to speak.

Not exactly.

One way the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures unemployment is through its Current Population Survey. Essentially, they survey households and ask them questions about whether or not they're working; if they're not working, whether they've looked for a job in the past month; if they're looking for a job, what they've done to try to find one (in order to determine if they're actively searching). The BLS then comes up with a number of rates of unemployment, the most commonly reported of which includes people who are in the labor force (that is, not in the military, full time students, or otherwise institutionalized - this means people who are in prison aren't counted in unemployment rates).

So if someone had sent out resumes in the past month, they'd be counted as unemployed. Whether or not they're working through a state agency doesn't enter into the equation, since it's a survey of households (although probably saying that they were trying to find work through the Texas Workforce Commission would indicate that they were actively seeking work).

The survey method also catches some less-reported, more broad-based measures of unemployment, such as workers who have stopped seeking a job because they were discouraged by the lack of prospects. These rates are reported separately, but you can find them on the BLS's web site, among other places. So, using your example, if someone had run out of UI, was no longer bothering to try to find a job actively (but would take work if they could find it), they might be captured as a "discouraged worker" and be included in one of the broader-based measures of unemployment. If they had sent out resumes, they'd be straight-up unemployed.

Someone can correct me, it's been awhile since I took Labor Econ and it's sort of late.
posted by dismas at 11:26 PM on November 9, 2009


If some middle-class white people with college degrees miss out on a couple gigs to pad their resume with on their way to making bank, I've got nary a fuck to give.

One of the things that touched me so much about traveling was how people who had nothing went so far out of their way to help me. It was like spending all your life believing in the immensity of office buildings only to be confronted with a great mountain of human kindness. A moment like that reaffirms the magnificence of humanity in defiance of the worldly.

Where's the value in spitting on the fortunate? Does caring less about some people leave you with more empathy for others? (Like how not caring about animals leaves more empathy for humans?) Or does suffering make a person self-obsessed, eager to redirect all thought and empathy to herself, and is this a vicious cycle?

A friend of mine is a massage therapist at a spa. Her manager told her to be really nice to this particular lady because she had just lost ten million dollars in the Madoff investment scandal. My friend was incredulous: "be extra nice? I am barely making rent!" I laughed with her -- it was silly that she alone should have her empathy taxed. Maybe the asymmetry is part of your point too, I can understand that.

But, bless her, she never said one bad thing about her rich clients. She never trivialized their existence, nor withdrew her empathy from them.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 12:04 AM on November 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Unemployment rate for someone like me: white dude, 30 years old, diploma but no college degree-- 8.9 percent.

Jesus, as tight as it is living on student financial aid for all my needs, I'm thinking that I picked the right time to better myself via college.
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:26 AM on November 10, 2009


re: having equal empathy... I try, I really do. But... it's hard.

Despite a decade of web design experience, some games journalism cred, and a relatively frugal lifestyle, it's always been a struggle for me to stay afloat. For years I've had to deal with homelessness, unemployment, debt, abusive landlords, and all sorts of other poverty-related nastiness through no fault of my own, in addition to the usual slings and arrows of outrageous fortune--bureaucratic oversights, computer failures, shitty retail work, medical bills, etc. Not having a degree has been a significant impediment to my career so far, so going to school could be just what I need to find that light at the end of the tunnel and some well-deserved stability.

It's a big gamble--my tuition is being paid by a Pell Grant and, books and living expenses are being paid by a bunch of loans--and I might have to take a job on top of being a full time student just so I can pay living expenses-- and lord knows I've been looking. For anyhthing, even trying to take two part time jobs on top of things, with no luck. My living situation and financial situation (are a heavy burden right now, and I'm going through a metric fuckton of stress AND a divorce.

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think it's fair to say that I'm a counterexample to the assertion, made by so many people who have too little experience with misfortune, that poverty comes only to those who deserve it. It's a juicy, meaty irony that employees of recently defunct investment banks can write shrill letters to the Wall Street Journal about how it is the fault of people like me that they have to live on less than $100,000 a year.

I've never seen anything close to $100,000 in my entire life.
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:32 AM on November 10, 2009


One of the things that touched me so much about traveling was how people who had nothing went so far out of their way to help me. It was like spending all your life believing in the immensity of office buildings only to be confronted with a great mountain of human kindness. A moment like that reaffirms the magnificence of humanity in defiance of the worldly.
The problem is that people are perfectly willing to help someone they can see while being perfectly happy to vote to screw people they can't. Or implement policies that screw people they can't see. They lack imagination.
posted by delmoi at 1:42 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm a high-school graduate, single parent who (along with 800 co-workers) got laid off from my $25K/yr (before taxes and ripoff health plan) job 2 months ago when my employer decided they could do it cheaper in the third world. And moving in with friends is a tough sell when you've got a 3-year old in tow.

If some middle-class white people with college degrees miss out on a couple gigs to pad their resume with on their way to making bank, I've got nary a fuck to give.


There's a sort of entrenched entitlement like this that is really dangerous and unfair. People will take out mortgages, have kids, and buy cars on credit, and then when job cuts happen, it's kind of an unspoken agreement that these people don't deserve to lose their jobs. It makes it really, really hard to find a job when you're younger. Employers see you as "most disposable" and at the same time, you don't get random excuses to take time off work like people with families. Yeah, taking a day off work because your kid is sick is no picnic, but it's still a day off work that a similar childless worker would be unable to take.

I'm not saying I don't sympathize with your plight, but why does your choice to have a child entitle you to employment more than someone who didn't?
posted by explosion at 3:45 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jesus, as tight as it is living on student financial aid for all my needs ...

my tuition is being paid by a Pell Grant and, books and living expenses are being paid by a bunch of loans--and I might have to take a job on top of being a full time student just so I can pay living expenses...


this is my first heartburn: if you don't have the money to go to college, don't go to college. i don't really want to hear about what a hard time you're having paying off your $80k of student loans.

I know some things that can help an individual--maybe--like literacy programs.

this is my 2nd heartburn: I ALREADY PAID FOR A LITERACY PROGRAM. it's called a public education. i got one, and i can read. not only can i read, i can research, and i can make it to class on time, and i can hand in my homework when it's due. because i would have gotten my ass kicked six ways to sunday if i didn't.

the crumbling infrastructure of family values is out of my scope. i'm not going to change the fact that i know people whose parents wrote them notes to excuse them from school because they were 'sick,' when in fact they were perfectly healthy but they didn't want to take the test that day. i can't change the fact that every day parents show up at schools to ream out teachers because their little suzy or little biff is gifted but can't get the lesson because they're bored. there are a million things i can't change about the way other people live their lives.

am i one of the lucky ones? possibly. white, college degree two, actually, without ever taking out a student loan, but at times juggling 3 parttime jobs to make tuition, and it took me 8 years to get a 4-year degree, been unemployed for about 2 years in the last 25. i realize i'm lucky to have the job that i do. but i've got a guy sleeping on my couch right now. white, literate, no degree. also no job prospects because guess what? HE'S NOT LOOKING. he might send an email in response to a craigslist posting & then wonder why he didn't get the job. but his feet haven't hit the pavement in the month that he's been crashing here. sofa boy isn't the first person i thought i could help get back on his feet only to find out he's far less interested in a hand up than a hand out. for some reason, i know a lot more people like that than i do the ones who are willing to take what they can until something better comes along. because *nothing* better is going to come along for people who think they should be able to step off the couch & into a $65k/year job.

i do understand that not everyone looking for a job fits the sofa boy profile. but i swear to god, i know at least 5 times as many people who don't have a clue about what working really means as i do who are laid off because of the shitty economy. i'll save my empathy for the latter, but this chart doesn't differentiate.
posted by msconduct at 4:03 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Interesting that white females appear to be the most employed group, as opposed to the traditional patriarchy stereotype.
        % Unemployed

          15-24  25-44   45+ Years Old
No High School
White M   25.6%  17.5% 11.1%
White F   20.1%  17.5%  8.5%

High School Grad
White M   15.5%   8.9%  7.1%
White F    9.8%   7.1%  5.5%

College Grad
White M    8.4%   3.9%  4.1%
White F    6.6%   3.6%  3.7%

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:25 AM on November 10, 2009


Interesting that white females appear to be the most employed group, as opposed to the traditional patriarchy stereotype.

That's true, but I suspect that some married women with children will drop out of the labour force entirely when there are no jobs. Obviously only if they can afford it because of their husband's income, and because of traditional gender norming men are less likely to "stay home with the kids" even if that is a financially possible and they can't get a job.
posted by atrazine at 5:13 AM on November 10, 2009


Interesting that white females appear to be the most employed group, as opposed to the traditional patriarchy stereotype.

It's not so much "That's how well women are doing!" as "Yeah, men are doing that badly." A lot of the industries most badly hit - construction comes to mind - are traditionally overwhelmingly male-dominated, so statistically speaking, the dangly-bits contingent got laid off more.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:52 AM on November 10, 2009


Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5% -- an unemployment rate that has probably never been seen outside of certain areas in Weimar Germany.

I don't want to diminish the crisis of unemployment in young, black men, or even the population as a whole but your comparison is just a tad hyperbolic. Weimar Germany had a general population unemployment rate in those levels, this on the other hand is a sub-set of a sub-set of the population. There have certainly been times, recent times, where similar subsets have had even higher rates of unemployment while those not in the underclass went on with their lives blissfully unaware or uncaring.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:59 AM on November 10, 2009


This is my first heartburn: if you don't have the money to go to college, don't go to college. i don't really want to hear about what a hard time you're having paying off your $80k of student loans.

So people should only go to university if they can scrape together 80k beforehand? I understand that you worked to get the money for university together, and that's admirable, but all I can think reading this is that you don't think poor people are entitled to a university education. I might not want to hear about your three part time jobs and how hard you worked to get the money before you went, but giving you shit about a time of financial hardship would be a serious dick move.
posted by emperor.seamus at 6:07 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Civil_Disobedient, you might like these articles about why women are outperforming men, nowadays; (at least in the younger generations).

At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust
Men Growing Up to be Boys
Is the Alpha Male in Danger of Extinction?
Boys Adrift
posted by sciurus at 6:09 AM on November 10, 2009


I love you sweet infographic, regardless of how depressing.
posted by Theta States at 6:10 AM on November 10, 2009


The problem is a wedge has been taken out of the blue-collar workforce. That wedge is not returning. Ever.

Are we dealing with that?
posted by jefficator at 6:17 AM on November 10, 2009


Larger scope (and shorter timeframe) than Random Family: Off the Books.
posted by djb at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2009


What can I do about this?

I'm finished with hand-wringing. Someone who is more intimately acquainted with this problem tell me what I as an individual need to be doing to correct this problem. Please assume that no response is too obvious.


Oh I know the answer! A lot of the reason why unemployment rates in that demographic are so large is not because so many are in prison, but rather because so many have been in prison. And there is nothing worse - literally, nothing worse - for ones job prospects than a criminal record. (Okay, okay, unless you're white). While reliable unemployment figures don't exist for this demographic, it is estimated that between 25-40% are unemployed in normal economies. The number is nearly certainly higher now, as employers are getting pickier and paying more attention to background checks, credit reports, etc.

So... one thing you can do is put pressure on your state and local officials to pass anti-discrimination laws for people with criminal records, akin to what New York has (pdf).

Or! You could volunteer to mentor someone coming out of prison, help them navigate the job search, or stabilize their families. The Federal Government just awarded grants to 36 sites around the country to fund mentoring programs for the formerly incarcerated under the Second Chance Act.

Or! You can find out about local programs and non-profits in your area in terms of what services they offer. Many organizations working with ex-offenders, but also people with disabilities, the poor, the homeless, etc. have some sort of employment services to help people find or look for a job. Heck, if you or someone you know is looking to hire, you could consider talking to one of those organizations. There are usually some financial incentives that can be taken advantage of, and other services and screening to help an employer find the best candidate for the job.

Or! You could campaign on behalf of eliminating mandatory minimum drug laws and other criminal justice policy that keeps people recycling through the prison system.

Etc.
posted by lunit at 6:27 AM on November 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Interesting that white females appear to be the most employed group, as opposed to the traditional patriarchy stereotype.

Those numbers also do not address underemployment.
posted by winna at 6:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


the crumbling infrastructure of family values is out of my scope. i'm not going to change the fact that i know people whose parents wrote them notes to excuse them from school because they were 'sick,' when in fact they were perfectly healthy but they didn't want to take the test that day. i can't change the fact that every day parents show up at schools to ream out teachers because their little suzy or little biff is gifted but can't get the lesson because they're bored. there are a million things i can't change about the way other people live their lives.

Quoted for truth and general awesomeness. msconduct, I (and a lot of other teachers I know) would like to give you a virtual high five and a "hells, yeah!"

Also seconding that this infographic is awesome, but it really can't tell us why the numbers are the way they are. I'd agree that some people might be too lazy to find work (and are enjoying "funemployment"), but I know lots of folks who are working their asses off every day and can't get a job. I've got one friend who's been unemployed for 8 months. He's a highly skilled engineer and can't get anything in his field, but he also can't get a job outside of it because hirers assume (probably rightly) that he'd instantly ditch on a menial job if something better came along. He's been told countless times that he's overqualified, and he's getting pretty depressed about the whole job situation.
posted by Go Banana at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2009


I ALREADY PAID FOR A LITERACY PROGRAM. it's called a public education. i got one, and i can read. not only can i read, i can research, and i can make it to class on time, and i can hand in my homework when it's due. because i would have gotten my ass kicked six ways to sunday if i didn't.

I'm thinking that you missed the class on capitalization.
posted by octothorpe at 6:33 AM on November 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


emperor.seamus: please don't put too much of your spin on my words.

there are plenty of ways to go to college. scholarships and working part or fulltime are two of those ways. taking out massive debt, however, appears to be the most popular. and then the world is filled with ... oh, say, journalism majors of which i am one ... where competition is fierce & the pay sucks. honestly, if one is bright enough to get into a college even these days when money appears to be much more important to these hallowed institutions than the ability to impart information & provide a solid foundation for one's future, then they're bright enough to know that tens of thousands of dollars financing a liberal arts education is a poor investment when english majors are a dime a dozen. want a philosophy degree? i have no problem with that. but how about going to a tech school for 2 years & getting an associate's degree in radiography or another similar field, which would pay a livable wage to finance a potentially less lucrative and definitely more expensive educational pursuit?

there's no shame in working for something you want. and there's certainly nothing to prevent poor people from holding a job to pay for an education.
posted by msconduct at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's also been said that he was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:58 AM on November 10, 2009


Ooops, wrong thread!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:59 AM on November 10, 2009


Perhaps his substance abuse problems are what is keeping him unemployed?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:20 AM on November 10, 2009


this is my first heartburn: if you don't have the money to go to college, don't go to college. i don't really want to hear about what a hard time you're having paying off your $80k of student loans.
Do you know what a Pell Grant is? Just wondering, given that you picked someone who got one to levy your "student loans" strawman attack on.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:24 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding student loans -- considering the much greater livetime earning potential of someone wiith a degree, then it often is a very good idea to take out loans to get that degree. It's investing in the future, and for two generations after 1945 it's been a very good investment.

Thing is, there probably is a balance between cost and return -- if the cost begins to be too high, or the earning premium too low, then getting a loan would not be a good investment. Has someone (i.e. an economist) done the math on this?
posted by jb at 8:22 AM on November 10, 2009


if i'm not mistaken, a pell grant is designed to help plug the hole between what you have & what it costs to get an education. they were big with the a.a. crowd years ago. in the instance of the op, the pell grant is paying tuition, and 'books and living expenses are being paid by a bunch of loans--and I might have to take a job on top of being a full time student just so I can pay living expenses... .'

did you even read the whole quote? or did you just jump down here to attack me after you saw 'pell grant'?
posted by msconduct at 8:32 AM on November 10, 2009


The problem with the no student loans scenario is that it was very possible to work your way though school without them when msconduct and I were young - we are more or less of an age - and it is not so possible anymore. My full time tuition at a four year liberal arts college in the eighties was $600 a semester. Tuition at that same college now? $4,855. And minimum wage has not gone up enough in those same 25 years to make that possible even with three part time jobs. That is why my daughter has student loans and I did not.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:36 AM on November 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


this is my first heartburn: if you don't have the money to go to college, don't go to college. i don't really want to hear about what a hard time you're having paying off your $80k of student loans.

I am so happy that you Americans are finally getting some form of universal healthcare. I am also looking forward to the day when education is considered another basic human right.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I ALREADY PAID FOR A LITERACY PROGRAM. it's called a public education. i got one, and i can read. not only can i read, i can research, and i can make it to class on time, and i can hand in my homework when it's due. because i would have gotten my ass kicked six ways to sunday if i didn't.

Among the things that still amaze me about the USA: Public education should be the same for everyone, but instead, poor neighborhoods get bad schools, and richer neighborhoods get good ones.

Please don't assume that public education gives everyone the same opportunity. Ending "separate but equal" ended racial segregation, but it didn't touch class segregation. Poor folks of all hues still go to the schools with the least resources.
posted by shetterly at 8:52 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thing is, there probably is a balance between cost and return -- if the cost begins to be too high, or the earning premium too low, then getting a loan would not be a good investment. Has someone (i.e. an economist) done the math on this?

I am definitely not an economist, but I did recently graduate from a liberal arts school. While it seems to be almost always true that someone with a BA or BS will make significantly more over his lifetime than someone with just a high school degree, American college culture often gets kids and their parents stuck in huge piles of debt without preparing the kids for the realities of the job market. I went to a liberal arts college that cost $50K a year, and probably could have gotten a comparable education for $10K a year (or less, with scholarships) at my state school. I'm really lucky because I don't have debt and I do have a job, but I saw a whole lot of kids who, like me, went for the big name-- but are now $20K-$100K in debt and unemployed or underemployed because they went for a hardcore humanities major that they enjoyed.

I really can't blame my peers for this-- we were raised, for the most part, by parents and teachers who told us that all we had to do was get into a good college, find something we loved, and we'd be set for life. For what it's getting most of us now, it kind of feels like we might as well have just gone to state or community schools and saved ourselves a whole lot of money.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:57 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


or did you just jump down here to attack me after you saw 'pell grant'?

I dunno, msconduct, you seemed pretty eager to attack after reading the word "loans" without knowing the size of the loans, my living situation, the courses I was taking, the amount borrowed, or, um.. anything about me.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:08 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Interesting that white females appear to be the most employed group, as opposed to the traditional patriarchy stereotype.

Those numbers also do not address underemployment


I was wondering about this as well. It doesn't look like these statistics break down people who are employed full-time and part-time. This is no small matter when, according to this Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2009 9.3 million people were unwillingly employed in part-time work, either because they could not find full-time work or because there hours at their job were cut back. I'd be interested to know what percentage of this group is female, or indeed what other characteristics this group has.

In any case, women are consistently more likely to work part-time than men. See Table 20 this report (be warned, PDF) on women in the labor force published by the Department of Labor. In 2008, 11.1% of employed men were working part-time, as opposed to 24.6% of employed women.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 9:49 AM on November 10, 2009


this is my first heartburn: if you don't have the money to go to college, don't go to college. i don't really want to hear about what a hard time you're having paying off your $80k of student loans.
That’s an idiotic sentiment. A college education is an investment. Sometimes investments don't pay off, but a college education is just about one of the surest ones out there. Making leveraged investments is the entire basis for our capitalist society.
and there's certainly nothing to prevent poor people from holding a job to pay for an education.
Except, of course, not having any jobs available.
posted by delmoi at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


but I'm most definitely taking exception to your insinuation that a 10% unemployment level is a reasonable cause for today's youth to resort to crime.

Excellent reading comprehension. You just looked for what you wanted to see, didn't you?

The problem isn't 10% unemployment across all genders, races, and ages. The problem is ALMOST 50% UNEMPLOYMENT for young black men without a high school diploma. You think those kids are turning down the minimum wage jobs you claim are so freely available? Shit, they're lucky to even get an interview for those jobs.

This is an economic prison with bars as impenetrable as any steel ones. It means that not only do you probably not have a job or any prospects, but neither do any of your peers. No job prospects + no hope of any job prospects = nothing to lose.

In those circumstances you'd be a fool not to do whatever it takes to get whatever you can. After all, what's the worst that can happen? You go to a real, literal prison? Where you get a roof over your head and three meals a day? And you'll be surrounded by people you know?

Improving the schools that serve our poorest and most needy students seems like one of the best ways to help. Some of those schools are so terrible and unsafe that, again, the best option is to get the hell out as soon as you can, because what the hell good is it doing most kids?

Yet playing with that graph it quickly becomes clear how important education is-- that 48.4% unemployment rate is cut in half for those with a high school diploma, and in half again for those with a college degree (and I note that it doesn't appear to distinguish between a 2-year degree and a 4-year degree).

So for those like jefficator who wonder what they can do about this, the answer is to agitate as best you can for better funding for schools so that more kids will have a reason to stay in them, so that more kids will have the opportunity to get jobs.
posted by dersins at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


In my own experience, it's easier for women to get certain jobs that men have a harder time getting--counter jobs where you're supposed to be cute, childcare/babysitting/nannying, housekeeping/cleaning, caretaking for the elderly, and secretarial/admin assistant work.

Think there were enough slashes in there?
posted by kathrineg at 10:29 AM on November 10, 2009


Conversely, most of the slasher jobs go to men.
posted by box at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


So for those like jefficator who wonder what they can do about this, the answer is to agitate as best you can for better funding for schools so that more kids will have a reason to stay in them, so that more kids will have the opportunity to get jobs.

A few people I know did Teach for America after college and continue to raise money for them.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:41 AM on November 10, 2009


Oh for crying out loud! Do you know what the single most important factor is in the well-being of a country's economy and political system? That's right - the education levels of the population. The single most important factor - far and away, bar none. We as a society should be doing everything we possibly can, to make education available to all of our citizens. This should be priority number one, and two and three and the first ten. Because both job creation and the workforce to take advantage of it, will follow education - it's a virtuous cycle. And gainful employment generates a tax base, and so on. Not to mention, a better educated populace leads to a more fair political system. To me, a person's stance toward making education available and affordable for all is a litmus test of how much this person understands of the world we live in. I'm distressed by the voices here that poo-pooh people's difficulties in getting affordable education - you live in a civilized society precisely because large numbers of people are educated, so it is in your own self interest to promote education.

On another note, a nasty curmudgeonly one - the higher the level of real unemployment is, the more impatient and uncharitable I grow toward people who still hold jobs. In that I expect people to really value their jobs - by doing competent work. A small example: I've been trying to get an ophthalmology appointment at a well-known eye institute. I have very good insurance. It has been two - solid two - months of phone calls and letters, and I still don't have an appointment. At this point I am no longer angry, but merely take a sociologists interest in the train wreck here. The level of incompetence on the part of multiple people, the shifting of responsibility, the rank, utter stupidity of many employees (one actually could not find my patient number in a computer! I asked for her coworker, who found it within seconds). This is what made me bitter and uncharitable: with real unemployment at 17%, what are these people doing still working? Why aren't they out on their asses and why don't those jobs go to people who actually want to work and work well? I'm slowly coming around to the idea that some people just don't deserve jobs, period. Perhaps there are other ways they can be provided with a living.
posted by VikingSword at 10:47 AM on November 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


did you even read the whole quote? or did you just jump down here to attack me after you saw 'pell grant'?
*shrug* I read everything you thought was relevant to quote. (and had also read the OP) I thought was worth pointing out that a Pell Grant is not, as you implied, the same thing as your $80K of student loans strawman. If you thought the other loans were the real crime, why didn't you quote that part as the source of your rage?

I didn't have the energy to start on the whole "I am angry about someone I'm letting couch surf and, while I'm not saying everyone who's unemployed is a total layabout, they totally are," routine you went on with. So I just stuck with the simple correction.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


College loans can be a very good investment, but they can also be an extremely poor one. Like just about any form of borrowing, it's all about what you choose to spend the money on.

Borrowing in order to get a two-year degree or occupational license in an in-demand field, like nursing or a lot of other non-MD allied health fields? Almost certainly a good investment. The difference in income between "no degree" and a professional certificate in one of those fields is quite staggering. It's probably the best single investment you could make — if you're sure you can hack the classes and finish school.

However, taking out the same loan for a four-year liberal arts degree, or a degree in an out-of-demand field with a large surplus (like the previously-mentioned journalism) probably isn't as solid a move, unless you have the inside track to a job going into it.

Unfortunately, most loan programs (at least the government-backed ones that I'm aware of) do very little to steer people towards the 'good-investment' programs and away from the 'poor-investment' ones. There ought to be a giant difference in interest rates between one and the other, due to the differing amount of risk involved. But instead, we have basically flat interest rates for all programs in a given year, effectively meaning that people in 'good-investment' programs are subsidizing those in 'poor investment' ones.

It would be as if all business loans given out in a certain year had to be the same rate, so that the guy with a solid low-risk business plan and someone planning to buy Lotto tickets get the same deal. There's a reason we don't do that, and it's because it would be really stupid. However, for some reason we want to pretend as though all college educations are worth the same. They're not.

It's not my intent to flatly denigrate the benefits of a liberal arts education (my degree is from one), but in today's job market it just doesn't make sense for the majority of students who are looking to become financially independent. L/A schools should look away from recent high-school graduates and into adult students looking to round out their education (and with money to spare) if they want to stay afloat and retain their traditional curricula.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


There still is a significant earnings advantage even for the most "non-lucrative" degree -- it's the B.x. that matters, not the major. I don't know if it's a matter of class, or whether employers really believe that a university degree makes for better employees, but it's still true.

Now, the question is: how much of an earnings advantage, and what will be the return on your investment? As pointed out upthread, not all universities cost the same: one B.x. can cost $20,000, another can cost $200,000. At the same time, not all B.x's are the same, even in the same majors; degrees from respected and prestigious universities have their own premiums. It pays, for example, to pay full price for an Ivy League education, because your earning potential is much greater. The worst student from an Ive League school has higher earning potential/opportunities than the best student from a little-known state college, though their personal abilities may be less. (Trust me, they are). It's all about status.

So when making the decision to borrow money, it's all a question of how much money to borrow versus how much advantage it will give you later. Borrow lots if you plan do a B.A. at Harvard; borrow none if you are doing a PhD at Harvard, or anywhere. (Definitely no earning advantage there :) And given a choice between a solid cheap state school, and an expensive private school of similar or only slightly better reputation/status advantage, you would be better off going for the cheaper option.
posted by jb at 12:00 PM on November 10, 2009


interesting thread

"black immigrants in the UK (~40% @16-19 down to 27.1% for 20-24)"

what does this mean? does black immigrant mean actual immigrant or black british? also, i wonder what causes the big drop at age 20?
posted by marienbad at 12:13 PM on November 10, 2009


Yes, but Gen-Xers are supposed to be choking under the yoke of the Baby Boomers who never plan to reture so it evens out, except for baby boomers who continue to soak everyone until they're all dead.

Yes, but then we get their sweet, sweet inheritance ... which could just be medical bills past due.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:27 PM on November 10, 2009


On another note, a nasty curmudgeonly one - the higher the level of real unemployment is, the more impatient and uncharitable I grow toward people who still hold jobs. In that I expect people to really value their jobs - by doing competent work. A small example: I've been trying to get an ophthalmology appointment at a well-known eye institute. I have very good insurance. It has been two - solid two - months of phone calls and letters, and I still don't have an appointment.

You realize, of course, that many employers have been cutting back and are putting a lot more work on a smaller staff, including my own (though nobody has been laid off here, just by attrition). One friend here is the last staff member left at her office, and she's doing the work of at least three people now.

Have some compassion. We're all doing our best.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:31 PM on November 10, 2009


There's a sort of entrenched entitlement like this that is really dangerous and unfair. People will take out mortgages, have kids, and buy cars on credit, and then when job cuts happen, it's kind of an unspoken agreement that these people don't deserve to lose their jobs. It makes it really, really hard to find a job when you're younger. Employers see you as "most disposable" and at the same time, you don't get random excuses to take time off work like people with families. Yeah, taking a day off work because your kid is sick is no picnic, but it's still a day off work that a similar childless worker would be unable to take.

I'm not saying I don't sympathize with your plight, but why does your choice to have a child entitle you to employment more than someone who didn't?


I don't own a car and lol if you think nonparents are more disposable than parents (at least in the $8-$12/hr range)- employers of lower wage hourly jobs see parents much like you describe: always looking for an extra day off. A day off isn't a good thing for the worker, either, that's a 20% off the week's income for a lifestyle where $60 goes a long way. That little "so... married? kids?" the interviewer throws in isn't just small talk, btw.

I'm not entitled more or less than the next person (nobody really has anything coming to them anyway)- that 'work experience' line just ground my gears a little because a good college degree is almost totally out of reach for me and it's gear-grinding to hear something suggesting it being taken for granted; it kind of set off my "why don't you go cry about it in your leased Lexus" alarm.

Maybe I just read too much into it, I don't know.
posted by hamida2242 at 1:23 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


box: Conversely, most of the slasher jobs go to men.

OMG people get paid to write slash fiction?

This is going to make some shippers very happy!
posted by Pronoiac at 6:41 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Black Male, age 15 - 24, didn't graduate high school. Their unemployment rate, in case you're wondering, is 48.5%

What can I do about this?


Book Whatever it Takes by Geoffrey Canada and This American Life story his project The Harlem Children's Zone.

The guy tried something and years into it, it's actually working.

New York Times article
After welfare reform passed in 1996, the national debate on poverty seemed simply to shut down. Most conservatives explain poverty by looking to culture and behavior: bad parenting, high out-of-wedlock birth rates, teenagers who don't know the value of an honest day's work. To most liberals, the real problems are economic: underfinanced public schools and a dearth of well-paying semiskilled jobs, which make it nearly impossible for families to pull themselves out of poverty. Canada says he believes that both assumptions are true. He agrees that the economy is stacked against poor people no matter how hard they work, but he also thinks that poor parents aren't doing a good enough job of rearing their children. What makes Canada's project unique is that it addresses both problems at once. He keeps the liberals happy by pouring money into schools and day-care centers and after-school programs, and he satisfies the conservatives by directly taking on the problems of inadequate parenting and the cultural disadvantages of a ghetto home life. It's not just that he's trying to work both sides of the ideological street. It's that Canada has concluded that neither approach has a chance of working alone. Fix the schools without fixing the families and the community, and children will fail; but they will also fail if you improve the surrounding community without fixing the schools.
Rather than trying to get teens not to have children, they teach them how to be better parents. They will raise kids that learn more in school, are successful and don't have kids when they're still in high school themselves.

The teen-age, but taught-to-be good parents are not made successful. They will stay in poverty. Their kids will make it out. The T.A.L. story covers this issue sensitively.
posted by morganw at 7:08 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also previously
posted by morganw at 7:10 PM on November 10, 2009


Wait a minute, when I clicked on men and women both lines looked to be above the national average...how would that be statistically possible? Either a lot of people didn't click the M or F box in the survey, or I'm doing it wrong.
posted by emd3737 at 8:05 PM on November 10, 2009


Whoops, just realized I had an clicked on an age bracket before I compared men to women. Now I have women below and men above the national average so everything makes sense.
posted by emd3737 at 8:07 PM on November 10, 2009


Among the things that still amaze me about the USA: Public education should be the same for everyone, but instead, poor neighborhoods get bad schools, and richer neighborhoods get good ones.

Oh, not at all like England then.
posted by atrazine at 10:39 PM on November 10, 2009


msconduct, I'm not trying to put too much of a spin on your words, I'm just saying that when you say people shouldn't go to university if they can't afford it, it sounds very much like you're saying that poor people shouldn't go. The point is that finance is just one part of a larger social currency, and there are a hell of a lot of people out there especially in a recession who just won't be able to get onto a scholarship/into part time work that fits in with the hours they need to study etc, and the end product of this is going to be that rich people get an education, while poor people don't.

Believe me, no one wants to run up massive debts to get their education, but too often the options are either that, or don't get your education at all. I'm not saying it's perfect, and I'm sure as hell not commending you for your hard work and good fortune in this area, but I don't think that entitles you to criticize what may well be the only way people are able to pay their tuition, or to assume that everyone who deserves an education will be able to get themselves into the same position as you could financially.

I've known people who worked plenty hard for plenty of years at the only job they could get, flipping burgers under the golden arches . It's not because they didn't apply for other jobs, it's not because they weren't smart enough for other jobs, it might be because they got off to a bad start or they spoke with the wrong accent, but the idea that they could have scraped together enough money to put themselves through university on the best wage they could earn is pretty preposterous.

Maybe they could have gotten onto scholarships awarded to them, but if you want to approach this from the argument that universities should give educations out based solely on merit, then the playing field should be based on merit, not on who can afford to buy their way in with a sideline in merit for the special cases.

I'm sorry, I think I got a little off track there, but my point is that your argument hinges on everyone having the same chances as you had out there, and it's just not the case.
posted by emperor.seamus at 6:08 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


In terms of employment, people "like me" are people who could be competing for the same jobs as me. Which, due to certain legal restrictions, is not limited to only those with the same sex organs, melanin content and birth decade as me.

Which is to say, I'd like to see stats by career/industry.
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2009


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