The Unemployment Bias: The Long-term Unemployed Face Severe Discrimination

Last year I did some work for a large company that decided it would not hire anyone who was unemployed. It would automatically reject any candidate who had been unemployed even for a day. As I’ve learned, this attitude toward candidates is pervasive — many employers seem to have concluded that the long-term jobless are damaged goods.

The National Employment Law Project reported that companies across the country often posted job notices explicitly excluding applicants who are unemployed. Researchers at the Federal Reserve have found that people who are unemployed more than six months are heavily discriminated against. They sent fake resumes to hundreds of employers in response to job postings. Applicants who had only recently lost a job but had no relevant experience were far more likely to be called than those with many years of experience who had been out of work a long time.

All the resumes were of 2005 college graduates with identical skills, differing only in their length of unemployment and experience in the industry. The long-term unemployed received few responses. In many cases the employers’ ATS eliminated applications automatically. Six months of joblessness was enough to erase the value of industry experience. Employers preferred candidates with less joblessness over those who had worked in their industry.

What Is the “Long-Term”?

When I first heard the term “long-term unemployed,” I thought it referred to people who had not worked in years. But the definition is six months or more. I can see that someone who has been out of work for years is likely to have skills that have seriously deteriorated or may have difficulty getting back into a routine of meeting deadlines, but six months? Really? What is the basis for deciding when an unemployed person is not as qualified as an employed one?

Even in a fast-changing field like IT it would be hard to make the case that skills get outdated in six months. There’s no evidence that discrimination against the unemployed is based on anything other than prejudice and ignorance. It’s not logical to assume that a job seeker with extensive experience using the general skills needed in a prospective job is less qualified than untested applicants regardless whether the experience was gained in a job that ended a week ago or a year ago.

This is one reason why we continue to see large numbers of vacancies for jobs that do not require specialized skills despite having high unemployment. But a disproportionate number of the chronically unemployed simply lack skills currently prized by employers. They also become discouraged. Research shows that the longer unemployment lasts, the less time the unemployed spend looking for work.

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The District of Columbia, Oregon, and New Jersey have passed laws that make it illegal for employers to refuse to consider or hire candidates because they were out of work, and bar advertisements from suggesting that the unemployed need not apply. Similar laws are being considered in 18 other states. But it can be difficult to prove that unemployment was the reason a person was not hired — in New Jersey only one employer has been cited for violating the law in over two years.

The effects of long-term unemployment extend beyond income loss. The majority of people in this group — 55 percent — are men. They are also more likely to remain unemployed because the industries that are male dominated (manufacturing and construction) have recovered the least and where companies are investing more in automation than in increasing their labor force. Men are also more ill equipped to deal with the consequences of long periods of unemployment than women. They are more prone to turn to excessive drinking, drug abuse, domestic violence, and crime. So discrimination by employers creates problems that extend far beyond the loss of income.

There are still nearly five million Americans who have been unemployed more than 6 months. It does appear that the situation is getting better; the long-term unemployed now make up 39.1 percent of all job seekers, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the first time that figure has dropped below 40 percent in more than three years.

Raghav Singh, director of analytics at Korn Ferry Futurestep, has developed and launched multiple software products and held leadership positions at several major recruiting technology vendors. His career has included work as a consultant on enterprise HR systems and as a recruiting and HRIT leader at several Fortune 500 companies. Opinions expressed here are his own.


39 Comments on “The Unemployment Bias: The Long-term Unemployed Face Severe Discrimination

  1. Hi Raghav. We researched this last year and interviewed 1,500 staffing recruiters to understand their attitudes towards the long-term unemployed. As it turns out, the range of time for which a candidate can be unemployed before it becomes difficult for recruiters to find him or her a job is between six months and one year, according to 36 percent of respondents. Even more shocking, recruiters said it was easier for them to place a steadily employed person with a (non-felony) criminal record than it was to place someone who was long-term unemployed. More here:

  2. Unfortunate, but true. The laws will only help so much. Sure, companies can stop posting jobs openly discriminating against the unemployed, but what law can actually change a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s mind?

    My advice to those unemployed, volunteer or intern somewhere to show you have been productive in regards to working skills.

  3. I’m afraid I agree with Seth. Get an unpaid internship (or paid, even better!) volunteer, ANYTHING that is related to your career so you can keep your resume and skills current.

  4. “Thou shalt not hire the unemployed.” This flavor of discrimination (and there are more flavors of hiring discrimination that there are varieties of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) is perhaps one if not the most odious of all. Consider all the mass layoffs in 2012. With the attitude of some employers toward blacklisting any applicants who, for whatever reason, lost their means of supporting themselves, such corporate masterminds relegate persona non grata, with or without the aid of their ATSMS (Applicant Tracking Systems of Mass Destruction…a.k.a. – “the electronic black hole of OFCCP compliance”)to the trash heap.

    Consider the day you entered the gates of one of the following employers with joy and enthusiasm over your career growth:

    HP – 27,000
    Hostess – 18,500
    American Airlines – 11,000
    Citigroup – 11,000
    Lockheed Martin – 10,000
    Pepsi – 8,700
    IBM – 8,000
    American Express – 5,400
    Research In Motion – 5,000
    JC Penney – 4,700
    Canadian Pacific – 4,500
    Ford – 4,300
    Met Life – 4,300
    P & G – 2,300
    Google (as a result of the Motorola acquisition) – 4,000
    Morgan Stanley – 3,200
    SuperValu – 2,500
    Best Buy – 2,400
    Dow Chemical – 2,400
    Yahoo – 2,000
    First Solar – 2,000
    Colgate Palmolive -2,316

    The numbers next to the company name represent individuals cut from the workforce in this past year (according to Marketwatch and Business Insider). These are only the giants that make headlines. One is indeed a lonely number when you’re the one suffering the indignity of both the job loss and “the shunning” in pursuit of happiness through reemployment.

    Double jeopardy: add the sin of unemployment to the sin of discrimination in finding a job because you’re unemployed and discover your true character through time. It’s not a position to envy. Does HR and Recruiters have the power to reverse the tides of discrimination within their walls? Do they have the courage to do so?

    For whatever reason the pink slip fell, add the numbers and you have 145,516 human beings who through the practices of discriminatory employers, the following arguments must be true (in their board room self-talk):

    1) “These 145,516 people do not matter.”

    2) “The good news is once the layoffs were announced, the parent company’s stock went up and we invest in that company in our pension fund.”

    3) “They applied here? Blame our ATS. We’ve been meaning to have a look at that.”

    4) “These individuals do not possess the skills we need in order to progress our business.”

    5) “The government will take care of them.”

    In this day and age where statistics, the evening news, and the plight of the person who lives next door all have the ability to penetrate our hearts, we find numbing ways to shelter ourselves by keeping the sting of bad news from affecting our daily equilibrium. For some recruiters, this includes the practice of shooting an email over the bow to the well-researched applicant (unemployed or employed) requesting an investment of 20-50 minutes in populating an ATS when in fact that recruiter knows there’s a better chance of the weary soul applicant getting struck by lightning than having the “brand” employer that recruiter represents deign themselves to any human interaction whatsoever. And for the hundreds of thousands of “statistical indicators” who fell victims to the scarlet letter of unemployment, they pray for some real human being in the seat of influence in HR or Recruiting to recognize that they are highly qualified candidates because deep down inside, they know they are not, in the words of Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker in the gripping movie The Company Men, “just another …. with a resume.”

  5. The bias against the unemployed is simple to understand, and not entirely misplaced. When managers are faced with making cuts, they don’t say to themselves, “I’m going to cut my best people, that will make this company run better.” They cut their bottom X%, however defined, which are the people who aren’t performing. Now, there are exceptions like when companies move or just go out of business, and that’s why you need to know or at least have an inkling of why someone is unemployed. Because your employment status is not entirely out of your hands in most cases. It’s a mix of responsibility, and as a recruiter/HM you need to figure out what that mix is.

    If hiring processes were flawless and people could identify talent regardless of current or past employment, this would not be an issue. However, no hiring process is flawless, and many are deeply flawed. As such this method of weeding people out is seen as a safety and it’s not entirely unwarranted. If no one wants to employ you, it’s valid to ask why. If companies are trying to make severe cuts though, they may just want to avoid asking. Yes, they will miss the occasional great potential employee. They’ll also likely dodge a hell of a lot of potential mistakes.

    Which is why the advice above is sound: stay employed. An internship won’t leave you worse off, won’t take much time, and won’t distract you from your job search and may open doors. Hell, when I was younger I literally shoveled you-know-what for a while when I couldn’t get work because of some odd confluence of events. I also cleaned toilets until a job at a record store came up. Fun times I do recall.

    Now, I do understand why recruiter specifically would want to pitch the long term unemployed as great candidates, because it’s a ready source of willing candidates to be had for little to no work. However, it’s ridiculous to pretend the bias against the unemployed is completely baseless. It is likely counter productive, and the associated risks more easily dealt with by having an effective hiring process. But that would require an investment in time, training, and money a lot of companies don’t want to lay out, or simply can’t even if they did want to.

  6. Richard,
    I respectfully disagree. When a merger of two companies happen, entire departments are released with no further thought, not based on tenure, performance or anything other than company x is using the software we are going to maintain, we don’t want to take the time to train the company y staff, so off you go. You can’t tell me that HP had 27 thousand low performers on staff. If they did, they have bigger problems than I thought.

    Those are the easy answers. Employment and lay off decisions aren’t made that easily. There are politics, layers of leadership, and when a team gets small enough and still has to make cuts, it can be based purely on economics – your top paid person has to go. Top paid typically means top performer (although I know not always).

    Look at the government to see what long term employment has done – it’s not perfect either.

  7. I agree with you, Stephanie. Unscientific, I know, but when I think of friends who’ve found themselves unemployed in recent years, they haven’t been “the bottom x%” or anything like that. It seems to have been much more random or haphazard. Yes, I can think of 1-2 people who have found themselves unemployed who I can see why they are/were. Others, though, have been some great performers.

  8. @ Everybody: A “modest proposal” for those who feel that unemployed candidates are unsuitable:
    Carefully discuss the realities of the situation (as has been done here) so that the person (who regards the unemployed as unsuitable) understands, and then have security very publicly escort them from the building with their final check. Make sure EVERYBODY knows why they’re leaving. Rinse and repeat, as needed. After awhile, you may find attitudes toward the unemployed may become either better, or more guarded….

    @ John A: Be careful- you’re starting to sound like me.

    @ Richard: we all have biases, and there is usually some logical elements there. However ,they do mess up our decision-making, and while we can’t get rid of them, we can be aware of them while we decide. That’s the basis of Behavioral Recruiting- the application of Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Science, and Neural Science to recruiting.

    @ Stephanie-if you DON’T create real loyalty reinforced with a degree of stability, you basically get a sociopathic workplace, where rationality demands that each person should try to get as much as they can for as long as they can, and then jump ship, sort of what we have today at upper levels of companies. Imagine if EVERY EMPLOYEE acted like many sr. executives at financial service companies did?


  9. As I said, Stephanie, there are exceptions. But to simply pretend that all or even a majority of the people who are unemployed are there because of nothing but bad luck is to deny reality. Even in mergers people are maintained, and when people are cut it can be because there is simply no need for them anymore. It can also be that there is a need for that function, but they didn’t want that person because of performance. In the layoffs I have been involved in the majority of the cuts were determined by performance. Politics and bad management play a role, yes, but the reality is managers do have a tendency toward self preservation and they’re not likely to knowingly cut the people most valuable to them.

    So the point remains, when you are considering hiring a person who is unemployed, it is relevant to ask why they are unemployed, as opposed to the people who made it through the merger or restructuring or whatever happened.

  10. Excellent conversation and thanks to all for participating. Richard’s point is certainly well taken and there are undoubtedly many low performers who are laid off first. The problem is that there are plenty who were not let go for any fault of their own. Having worked for a large company that did lots of acquisitions I know that in many cases we were just buying the book of business and would lay off the entire company we acquired. There’s also the fact that performance evaluations are often not objective or properly done and are almost never accessible to a recruiter so it’s impossible to know why a person was let go.

    One would think that any concerns about an unemployed candidate’s skills and ability can be resolved with some kind of an assessment rather than assuming they are all unemployable.

  11. Hi Raghav,

    I definitely agree that people are let go through no fault of their own, but if you take a look at the list John provided one thing becomes clear: those are all mega companies. So yeah, it’s more than possible that Mega Corp X merges with Mega Corp Y and an entire division is axed because of redundancy. But as I’ve pointed out in the past, the majority of companies and employers, at least in the US, are medium to small businesses. Mom and pop operations aren’t eliminating entire divisions. So while the mass lay offs at places like HP and Citigroup get a lot of headlines, they also don’t necessarily represent the majority of terminations, or the reasons for termination.

    Your last sentence is on point, and that’s why I think the proper way to deal with this particular risk is to simply make sure you have a good hiring process in place to try and surface these issues for all candidates, regardless of their current employment status. That should be the control, because it opens up the field for more candidates while focusing on the true issue that matters: performance.

    One last point which I brought up briefly earlier but which needs to be fleshed out is third party recruiters pushing the unemployed. With all due respect to the agencies, I’m not buying it. Literally. I’m not paying 20-30% for someone who I’m likely to see/source myself just by leaving an ad out there long enough. I can understand why they would want to push a pool of ready and willing candidates that require little to no actual recruiting or convincing. Whether or not it’s arguably worth it, most principles and owners would say no way, not a chance in hell.

  12. Hmmm. Lat year I was contracting for a major semicon firm, and because the company didn’t reach their numbers, they began hiring freezes and started laying off the recruiting staff- 85% of which were contractors like me. I got through the first two rounds, but they got rid of us all in the third. Does that make me any better than my colleagues who got laid of prior to me? I don’t think so…


  13. Yes, Keith, it does. When it came down to who to hold and who to let go, they held you. That reflects a judgment on the part of someone that you were worth keeping and they weren’t. Now, that is not an absolute judgment on your colleagues or you, they may work better than you in different environments in which you would not get along well. However, say I’m hiring a recruiter and I’m interviewing both you and your colleague, and I know he was the first to go and that the place you were both working in was very similar to the one for which I’m hiring. Someone judged you to be better in similar circumstances. Sure, they could be wrong. It’s just one more piece of information. I certainly don’t agree with the automatic exclusion of people who are unemployed under most circumstances. I think it does more harm than good. But, it is something worth questioning, and the concerns of those doing the hiring should not be glossed over. When they ask why, if this Super candidate is so good, has no one else recognized their unlimited potential in the usually numerous interview they’ve been through, you’d better have an answer that satisfies, and, “Give the long term unemployed a chance,” doesn’t satisfy the requirements for that answer.

    Yeah, the bias exists. But the concern has a valid basis on the whole even if individual cases can vary, and it has to be addressed if such candidates want to move forward. It’s almost a means of crowd sourcing. And crowds get things wrong, but I’ve also read some research a while back which shows they tend to get a lot right, often more than individuals. So a mounting collective judgment that you’re not employable is something you should be concerned with, as should anyone looking to hire you.

  14. Thanks, Richard.
    I think a lot of what people attribute to skill or ability is actually due to luck: ( Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Daniel Kahneman notes that Larry Page and Sergey Brin were willing to sell Google (GOOG) for less than $1 million a year after its founding, but the buyer said the price was too high — certainly a lucky thing rather than a brilliant thing. Yet everything Google’s execs do today is likely to be seen within the rubric of brilliant businessmen.”

    Attributing success or failure to skill/ability rather than luck is also a bias to be aware of….


    Keith “Don’t Jinx Me!” Halperin

  15. No overall disagreement about luck, but that’s just it. Luck is luck. It’s what’s out of your control for the most part. Which is why you focus on what is in your control, more or less. And it’s certainly possible to get an idea as to whether or not someone is unlucky or just plain no good.

  16. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced this first hand. I’ve been unemployed for six years. Five of them by choice, the last year, not so much. The first four, I was a full time student, the fifth, I was a full time caregiver for some family members. We moved to another city with a better market mainly so I could find a job. Doing volunteer work does not help. I do a lot of volunteer work, employers do not care. I just don’t want to sit around and do nothing. I read industry news, do research on various things, go to networking events, and do volunteer work. None of it has made a bit of difference. I largely suspect my unemployment is why I was not hired at AIG. I had the perfect education, skill set and experience and had a great interview, but they decided to pursue other candidates. If I end up getting a job, it will probably be because someone I know recommended me. But I can think of at least four companies where someone high up in the organization recommended me, but they would not even consider me, despite my experience and education. Still, I keep trying and will keep trying, but it’s disheartening to say the least.

  17. Hi Jennifer,

    Can you tell me if the volunteer work you’ve done is related to your career? That’s frustrating. Please let me know if I can be of help.


  18. Great conversation; Raghav, great to have you stirring things up again.

    I have a couple of observations on the bias toward the unemployed:

    1. The recruiting industry has used the unemployed as the “whipping boy” to add value to their service. One of the reasons the contingency search business has used as a reason to engage them is that they will be a source of employed candidates.
    2. It is really difficult to legislate a bias out of the system. We see that in other areas, such as affirmative action (I believe Raghav did some great writing around this topic) where the great intentions of government takes a long time to have an effect. And, it is really difficult to ascertain whether the government programs caused change or whether other changes in society drove the change.
    3.After 4 decades of recruiting experience, I have found that many things are temporary conditions in the labor market. After living through several major economic downturns and recoveries, I realize all things must change. I keep hearing rumors of a talent shortage; that may alleviate some of the unemployment issues.
    4. Finally, some of the unemployment is caused by folks not having the skills that the labor market demands. As a corporate recruiter, I have found that if someone is talented and has the skills that are in demand, companies will interview and hire them regardless of employment status.

    I really appreciate the empathy and passion around rectifying the wrong that is done to the long term unemployed. And it is the right thing to do to support our fellow citizens who are unemployed. It is also important to provide coaching and direction about how to conduct a job search in the 21st century. The spirit of “we are in this together” is very encouraging.

  19. @ Marvin. Thank you. I fear that considering the nature of the Great Recession for Employment (much longer and slower in it’s recovery than any for decades), we may not have a short term, cyclical employment downturn, but a long-term- systemic one.

    – Keith “Hope I’m Wrong” Halperin

  20. Keith,

    I believe this is going to be a long term issue as well. And to be blunt it’s what most companies want: a permanent buyer’s market for labor. It’s quite possible, and I would even say likely, that if the situation were reversed and there were a true talent shortage you’d see a dramatic change in companies’ attitudes toward the unemployed as they started to feel real pressure to obtain and retain employees. Not just top level fab 5% employees, just plain old 9 to 5 clock punchers. If the demand for labor goes up, so does its price. That is a situation most employers what to avoid, so whether they do so consciously or not, they will pursue their own policies and support government policies that make their situations easier, not harder.

  21. @ Richard: Dammit, once again you’ve said what I wanted to, but better than I’d say it… It is for such reasons that I’m afraid we need to have all levels of employees think like CXOs:
    1)”Grab as much as you can for as long as you can, then get out of there as fast as you can. Repeat as often as necessary.”
    2)”Loyalty = cash-flow.”
    3)”When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The smart left a long time ago.”


  22. As someone who is currently unemployed and about to tick over a year of being out, I certainly have a dog in this discussion’s hunt.

    I left a position of six years to go to a “bleeding edge” R&D company with a reputation for having a quirky culture. I didn’t realize how quirky it was, and it became clear I didn’t fit with it (don’t get me started).

    I see an enormous lack – not just of empathy – but consideration that “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.” Layoffs happen not only because of performance, but because of personalities, because managers don’t like someone. To broad-brush stereotype that it must have been a performance issue that lead to someone being shown the door shows, IMHO, a staggering naiveté about how office politics really works.

    So what have I been doing since I’ve been out? I’ve been networking. I’ve been blogging. I compile and post, almost daily, an aggregate of articles on job searching to help others indirectly, and have helped people directly, one-on-one, as well. I find and post job leads for others. I’ve mentored junior-level job seekers in how to network, make contacts, etc.

    Nobody expects to be hired because they’re a hard-luck case. But a little more empathy on the part of people who have work for those who are out would be appreciated. Because regardless of your performance, you could be on the other side pretty quick, and without any fault of your own.

    “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.”

    1. I agree with you politics plays a larger role than it should in hiring/firing decisions. In fact, some people are hired because they are bleeping worthless. One of my cousins was temping at a bank and was written up multiple times for showing up late, not following written instructions, and for taking long lunches. One Friday he was called into the big boss’s office and we all thought he was going to get the boot. Instead the bank hired him. My colleagues and I were all scratching our heads trying to figure out what in the world happened. On Monday we had a meeting and the big boss was apparently retiring early and didn’t look happy. So we put the pieces of the puzzle together and figured my cousin was hired because he wasn’t a good employee as a final f-u by the big boss.

  23. It’s worse than “just” those who have been downsized. Some people are never given the chance to even try to succeed.

    Try being a 33 y/o Army Vet with a fresh degree from a “name” University… in 2000. Every year that went by that I could not get hired at the professional level – and had to work in various temporary positions where I was vastly underemployed – my chances of getting a call-back diminished.

    It’s now been 13 years moving back and forth across the country looking for work, capitalizing my student loans at 8.25%. I have no credit rating, an old degree, no “industry experience” and vast swaths of underemployment (may as well be unemployment) marked by periods between temp jobs.

    Yeah. Want to see how fast a resume gets shot down by ATS?

    With any luck I can spend my ‘retirement” in debtors prison for my Student Loans. At least I’ll have 3 hots and a cot.

  24. Bryan:

    I shook my head as I read your story.

    And instead of seeing a capable person who devoted their life to the service of their country, busted his hump to pull himself up by getting a degree and admirably did what he needed to do to survive via whatever he could get… HR people will dismiss you.

    Shaking my head again.

    And then HR people wonder why people are becoming mercenaries for their paychecks and careers with no second thoughts about hopping… recent articles on LinkedIn discuss concerns about employee retention. I wonder why.

    1. Good point. I witnessed an employee go out a lunchtime interview, came back, picked up all this stuff, and told HR he was leaving.

  25. That’s a sad shame. I have been unemployed for a year due to a massive layoff at my company who ultimately filed bankruptcy. Completely out of my control. I have went above and beyond to find a job but my city is cluttered with unemployed people from the same company along with others that have the same story. For every one job there’s probably 100 people applying. In the meantime, I have attended multiple classes at the local Workforce Solutions Center, job fairs etc in my county. And have registered at the local college to earn my degree. One, because I really truly want an education to make myself more marketable and for personal reasons and two, I feel that while I am unemployed, I need to be self improving and not being a lump on a log saying “whoa is me, can’t find a job”….. so to know that companies won’t hire people because they are “unemployed” is completely disheartening and I hope to never work for a company that won’t even consider the people who are really trying!!!

  26. In an economy with a huge surplus of workers any hiring manager would have enough number of talented people that could find any bias (justified or unjustified).

    However, what sometimes someone describes as a “culture” is a way to discriminate people who are simply different. In this case, the long-term unemployed are also in the “different” side.

    That all said, I believe Mr. Araujo is totally logical in all his assertions. Someone may argue differently, but it may not argue it is an illogical position.

    I won’t argue with his logic. I will just explain my own situation. I never had issue with my performance. In terms of metrics I was always at top 10% performers. I am graduated from one of top 10 best universities on the world. I have experience in some of the best companies.

    I have Asperger’s and at every business cycle I notice I am laid off for reasons other than my own performance. With my background I was always able to fight back and climb back the corporate ladder through sheer dedication and reinventing myself.

    Well, not anymore. I have been 5 years unemployed. If there is anything that could be learned or improved, I would do so.

    I lived all my life based on hope. This is the first time I really feel hopeless. This does not mean I am not trying. I am trying, but I am reaching the conclusion this has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the perception of being a “damaged good” at this point.

    I would like to quote Simone de Beauvoir in “The second sex”: “when an individual (or a group of individuals) is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he is inferior. But the significance of the verb to be must be rightly understood here; it is in bad faith to give it a static value when it really has the dynamic Hegelian sense of ‘to have become’”

    I am not any “inferior” or “damaged good”. However, I have become one by the imposition of others. This is someone who may never felt being discriminate would never understand.

  27. So… If someone is terminated from a job for cause — even though the cause is more of a personality conflict than actual negative work performance and the performance would have been adequate in a reasonable work environment — is it still worse to not list that job experience?

    This seems like one reason employers won’t hire long term unemployed — they would expect that applicants actually had jobs they are not showing on their resume due to a negative termination. But if that’s the case, would that suggest that even the worst terminations should be on your resume?

  28. Lol! And this is what most supposedly intelligent employers really think. There is currently no research to support such stupidity. I made a conscious decision to stay out of the traditional workforce because I saw an opportunity to get my graduate and post graduate degree. During this time I did assitantships, volunteer work and free skill building work in the career I wanted to go into. I also stayed out a bit longer to home-school my daughter which actually made me smarter. However, when a company only relies on computers, recruiters and dumb trends to tell them if someone is “working” or not they miss out on the cream of the crop employees. During this time I have taken computer classes to keep current with technology and I am fabulous for work, management and training others. I think the joke is on the employers that think they are so smart though. Myself and others like me have found power in low level jobs where we move up quickly and share our talents with the underdogs. Don’t waste your time trying to prove yourselves. Go out and look for small private companies who really want awesome employees, who want to really take the time to get the best and not just some dud who is good with keywords and faking through the system. The term “unemployed” doesn’t even mean to these folk what you think it means. To them anything other than a traditional job is unemployed to them. So if you have been self employed you are unemployed. They have very narrow ways of seeking qualified applicants which is why they usually end up with high turnovers. If you skip the know it all companies and go to the ones most people look down on you will be in a top position before you know it and you will have the very companies who trashed your for being unemployed seeking you out. While you are not working educate yourself and keep your skills current and you will shine

  29. 1 year– try 10 out of the past 12 years.How does the Labor Department
    know about long-term unemployed? They know about those receiving
    unemployment checks and how long they have received checks but there are
    those who benefits ran out years ago. Most have given up looking for
    work. I am still applying, not sure why. They are not even counted as

    I was going to school most of the time I was working and a little recently but it has not helped.

  30. no damaged goods. More articulate and capable than HR who shed staff for a company who like to run on empty or a manager who have no clue of what the job involves

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  32. From what I have witnessed most of the bad/lazy/unproductive employees were cut at the beginning of the financial crisis and were able to find other positions as many companies were still hiring. The employees cut after the original rounds of layoffs were for the most part quality employees and some found jobs. The last workers laid off were almost always quality employees and many of these people are now stuck in unemployment.

    Shutting out the unemployed is not only mean but stupid. Many studies have shown minimal – if any decrease in knowledge from periods of unemployment. Not to mention many people these days are taking classes to increase their knowledge.

    To improve the economy, we should focus on providing funds to people who want to start their own businesses and agree to hire the long term unemployed. Together we can run the old, outdated, and poorly run companies out of business. Just as a healthy market economy should be able to do, but can’t with only a few mega companies running the show.

  33. In the Electrical/Computer industry, there hasn’t been meaningful hiring of domestic candidates since 2000-2001. So there’s a huge number of grads and layoffees out there, who, for no fault of their own, can’t find jobs. Typical advertised jobs in the field are receiving in excess of 100 very high quality resumes. What are these people supposed to do? Every year they don’t have jobs, their spirits and perhaps even their skills decline. These are some of our crown jewels in terms of intelligence and intellect, yet they’re being thrown to the wolves, simply so people can enjoy cheap electronics and Internet gear made and designed by Asian firms, or even designed by American firms using imported Asians.

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