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Nearly half of unemployed have 'completely given up looking for work'

Being unemployed can create a mixture of optimism and dark despair. A new poll shows both sides of the search for work.

On the depressing side, the poll by Express Employment Professionals, a staffing company, found that nearly half (47 percent) of the unemployed "agree that they have completely given up looking for work."

A blog post by Brenda Cronin at the Wall Street Journal said the "survey results portray job-seekers as stymied in their hunts by scarce jobs and a slow economy. While 47 percent of respondents said they had 'completely given up on looking for a job,' 53 percent didn't say that scenario fit their situation."

Cronin talked to one job seeker, 51-year-old Sheri Minkoff, who said she is always overqualified or has too much experience or the wrong skills. Minkoff told Cronin that employers "want the 30-year-old with a master's degree who can take $30,000 a year."

The 47 percent "have completely given up" figure may be a little bit misleading by itself, though. The actual poll found that "7 percent said they 'agree completely,' (with the statement 'I've completely given up on looking for a job.') 7 percent 'agree a lot,' 15 percent 'agree somewhat,' and 18 percent 'agree a little.'"

As economics writer Ben Casselman tweeted: "I'm not quite sure what it means to 'agree a little' with the statement 'I've completely given up looking for a job.'"

Andrew Johnson at The National Review observed: "That percentage (47 percent) closely mirrors the 46 percent of respondents who said there are no available jobs, as well as those who have not had a job interview in the past month."

Then Johnson homes in on the optimistic contradiction: "Yet, despite the seemingly despairing situation, 91 percent are still confident they will find work by responding, 'I'm hopeful that I will find a job I really want in the next six months.'"

Unfortunately, those hopes may not be fulfilled for some. The poll found that 44 percent of the unemployed are "not at all willing" to relocate to a new city for a job and 60 percent are "not at all willing" to move to another state for a job. Even getting new skills to be more employable isn't a popular idea with 64 percent, who say they have no plans to "go back to school to make themselves more marketable."



Email: mdegroote@deseretnews.com Twitter: @degroote
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