| Things to think about
Many European countries
have unemployment rates about twice as high as ours. With financial
crises in East Asia and other regions, many countries have unemployment
rates higher than 20 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate averaged
4.2 percent in 1999.
Teenagers and other young people often
have a harder time finding work than people of other ages, yet
it is often during our younger years that we establish our work
ethic and generate opportunities for the future.
Many economists consider 95 percent
employment to be the maximum employment that our economy can
sustain, or "full employment." When unemployment is under 5
percent, some economists believe that the tight labor market
and the risk of increased inflation have the potential to send
the economy into recession
indicator measures our ability to put bread on the table and
our view of self-worth. The official unemployment rate has taken
on great importance with public officials because they understand
that it is a fundamental measure of personal well-being. They
also understand that elections can be won or lost as the rate
rises or falls.
means financial hardship for families. High unemployment is
also a sign of economic stagnation for the state. Those who
lack jobs are less able to buy goods and services, which also
detracts from the economy.
of a job hinders our ability to care about the environment as
we become necessarily preoccupied with daily survival. People
with secure jobs also pay taxes that go toward cleaning up hazardous
waste sites and other environmental priorities. Some of the
sectors with the most job growth are in service or "thinking"
sectors with work that causes less harm to the environment.
with high unemployment often suffer from increased rates of
crime, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Some of these
problems can be reduced by the creation of more jobs – a solution
that costs less and may work more effectively than other efforts
by police, counselors, and professionals to fight these problems.
Regional and ethnic disparities in unemployment rates in New
Jersey may divide us as a society.
indicator does not measure underemployment, a situation in which
people have a job or jobs but are not challenged by their work
and not encouraged to grow - nor situations where people hold
undesirable jobs to make ends meet. The unemployment rate also
does not measure the number of people who have given up on finding
a job and have dropped out of the labor market, or who have
chosen not to work for family or education reasons.
Source: NJ Department of Labor