Don’t be a “Discouraged Worker”

Dan Miller —  February 1, 2011 — 1 Comment

Every quarter the US Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the employment figures.  One of those calculations is for what they actually call “discouraged workers.”  These are individuals who wanted and were available for work during the last 12 months.  But they are no longer counted as unemployed because they have not searched for work in the last 4 weeks.  According to the Bureau’s calculations, in December of 2010, there were 1.3 million “discouraged workers.”

Here we are in February.  The official figures are pretty much the same.  ”Discouraged workers” are not a true indication of the economy or of the workplace possibilities.  Rather, they are examples of using methods of looking for work that don’t work.

What to do if you’re a “discouraged worker.”

  • Change your job search strategy – something’s not working
  • Be very clear about your strongest areas of competence
  • Identify 30-40 target companies – do a 3-step contact process
  • Use the 3-ft rule – tell everyone you meet what you’re looking for
  • Explore all the new work models – employee, independent contractor, freelance, entrepreneur
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  • Marc Stump

    When I took Economics in college back in 2005 my professor was a PHD in Economics. He explained to us two things that I’ll never forget:

    1. Because of people that are normally between jobs and the unemployed, the normal rate of unemployment is around 5% even in good times.

    2. The way the unemployment figures are calculated is by taking door-to-door polls of people that have been searching for work IN THE LAST 30 DAYS. If they haven’t been looking within the last month they are no longer included in the normal unemployment figures.

    Its sad. #1 allows us to bring the high unemployment figures more into a true perspective, but #2 tells us that even that number may be very inaccurate.