Employment in America – The Truth

Since the recession hit in late 2008, the concept of underemployment, as the cousin of unemployment, has seen greater discussion in the press. As a condition, underemployment of the financial kind can be a lifeline or nearly as cash limiting as being unemployed. Consider the employment trend where many people with advanced education have to work far outside their qualifications. This phenomenon is chronicled in an October 22, 2013 article on the Independent news website.

Reports such as those may cast a different light on the guarantee of higher education in terms of employment. Business Insider has an article published on August 22, 2013 that shows, among other things, that college graduates could face an uphill challenge in the coming years. As far as good news, there are tips on LinkedIn about how to avoid underemployment.

Underemployment Reporting

As several media sources have reported, underemployment has traditionally seen less discussion than unemployment. Part of this may have to do with the way unemployment is gauged. Unemployment reporting is partly figured based on the number of unemployment insurance filings. Lower unemployment filings may suggest improved employment, but may be misleading as an indicator. In terms of more accurate reporting, it is good that this is not the only way to determine unemployment rate.

In reality, many people may simply decide to stop filing for unemployment. One reason is they may be ineligible to receive the benefit. Those that get it may reach the end of their unemployment benefit. Taken together, these conditions become one of several entry vectors into homelessness if sufficient employment or Welfare fails to materialize early enough in the cycle. At best, these unemployment benefits may keep a person afloat long enough, economically, to obtain durable and financially beneficial employment. Otherwise, they may only delay the inevitable.

Underemployment is seeing increased visibility. Just this past July, CNBC reported on the deceptive nature of underemployment. The July 8, 2013 article, Why Underemployment May Be Worse Than It Looks, CNBC examines the possibility of underemployment being greater in reality than is normally perceived. Underemployment is real and can be nearly as inhibiting as unemployment.

My Own Path to Underemployment

Between 2001 and 2008, I was a corporate technology analyst with a great career. The positions I held were steady, reliable, long-term, and economically fruitful. During that time, I actively grew my level of contribution to organizations in terms of technology and operational impact. I did everything from writing medium-sized software systems, managing enterprise databases, and coordinating projects. I evolved into higher level roles and  Continue reading