Poll: Nearly Half Long-Term Jobless Give Up Looking for Work

Thursday, 22 May 2014 02:10 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Nearly half of long-term unemployed Americans have given up looking for a job, according to a new poll, and many say that looking for work has been more difficult than they expected it would be.

Forty-seven percent of the 1,500 unemployed people surveyed by Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals, said they have given up on looking for a job. Another 60 percent said looking for work has been harder than expected; 10 percent said it's been easier.

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"This survey shows that millions of Americans are at risk of falling into the trap of prolonged unemployment, and it should give policymakers a greater sense of urgency to focus on the singular goal of creating jobs," said Bob Funk, CEO of Express and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "We can take heart that in these difficult times the American spirit of confident hopefulness endures, but we can’t accept this status quo — not for our country, not for our unemployed neighbors."

However, while 47 percent said they've given up on finding a job, 91 percent said they are hopeful of finding a job they really want within the next six months.

The prospects weren't looking good for them, however, the poll revealed. Forty-six percent of the respondents said they had not had any interviews in the month before the poll, and 23 percent said they had not had a job interview since 2012.

Further, the poll showed that most of the unemployed are not receiving any jobless benefits, with just 20 percent saying they are getting unemployment compensation.

The benefits, though, may be dampening people's enthusiasm about finding work. A full 82 percent of those receiving benefits said that if their unemployment compensation were to run out, they would "search harder and wider for a job," but only 18 percent said they would be in such despair that they would quit looking for a job altogether.

In addition, another 48 percent agreed that they did not have to look for work as hard thanks to already receiving benefits. Seventy-two percent of the respondents agreed that the payments have been a cushion, and another 62 percent said they agree that compensation has "allowed me to take time for myself."

Meanwhile, people are not willing to move away to find work, the poll said. Fewer than half, or 44 percent, said they are not at all willing to relocate to new city or town, while 60 percent said they are not at all willing to move to another state.

There are jobs available in some states, though, if people wish to relocate. For example, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's "Blueprint for Prosperity" has turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $2.0 billion surplus.

His plan is designed to put taxpayers back in charge, with reforms that put more money in their pockets. At the same time, he's dropped unemployment in his state by 3 percentage points to 6.1 percent, resulting in the best private sector job growth since the 1990s.

The upshot, of course, is that companies in nearby states like Illinois are relocating to Wisconsin to reduce taxes and tap into a steady labor pool not hindered by union dominance. With this shift, thousands of workers and their families have moved to Wisconsin.

In North Dakota, the state's average personal income ranking went from 38th in 2006 to sixth place in 2012. Department of Commerce data show that during those six years, North Dakota's per capita personal income grew from 14 percent below the national average to 25 percent above the average.

And most unemployed people are men, revealed the Harris survey, which showed that 57 percent of men vs. 43 percent of women are jobless. In addition, more than half the unemployed are younger than 40, and one-third are younger than 30.

Most people also don't blame themselves for being without a job, with 45 percent saying the economy is most responsible, while 18 percent blame the government.

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