Long-Term Unemployment: Some Economists Discourage the Unemployed, Ignore, and Add to, Pain of Unemployment

Overall, the notion of relying on wealthy Ph.D. economists to be the go-to figure on every social activity must end. Economics is a narrow field; expansion of the field leads the profession to unacceptable error and failure.


(Related: The New York Times reported on the influence of think-tank monetary donors over papers the think tanks publish.)


The economics profession fails in the area of unemployment. Statistics and Calculus cannot explain the process of a person seeking and getting a job. Specifically, a job seeker submits materials to a person seeking workers for jobs in order to convince the employer to pick that particular person. The process is precise and unique: There is a job announcement, software to organize the job applications, and then a person (on behalf of the employer) to read the applications and decide on whom to interview and ultimately select. The process is essentially two sided (job seekers and employers).

This reality has not stopped economists from writing papers that demean the people experiencing unemployment. In studies throughout the period of the Great Recession, and its still ongoing and devastating aftermath, economist’s papers have stated that after 26+ weeks of unemployment (long-term unemployment), a person’s skills erode, the person loses connections to the workforce, or that too much compassion for the unemployed mucks up the “true state of the economy” (!).


(Note: A paper of the Urban Institute has pointed out that papers dealing with long-term unemployment often specify negative outcomes that supposedly occur with unemployment, which are not supported by direct evidence. I have written on this topic previously in this blog.)


This offensive conduct from these economists must end, especially since economists rarely cite the financial interests that may be paying for the paper and the assertions contained within those documents. Never again can mere economist assertions/guesses/hunches/bias be blindly accepted without direct proof.

Even more, the morale of those human beings that are unemployed (who struggle to restart their income by finding work) is damaged by such economist’s papers (as cited in this post), adding further obstacles and negativity to an already solitary, exhausting, and pressure-filled task.

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