The Destruction of Human Capital

More

Via Kevin Drum, I see that testimony before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission indicates that some employers are refusing to hire the unemployed:

Several examples of discriminatory help-wanted ads were offered: a Texas electronics company said online that it would "not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason"; an ad for a restaurant manager position in New Jersey said applicants must be employed; a phone manufacturer's job announcement said "No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All," according to Helen Norton, associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Even if the companies pull the language from their ads, many still discriminate against the unemployed, Owens said. The long-term unemployed are perhaps in the worst shape; employers worry that their skills are outdated and pass over them for positions, which means they are unemployed for even longer and have more difficulty finding work.

This is a grim sign for both the job market, and the unemployed.  Employers are indundated with resumes, and one easy way to weed down the pile is to look only at people who are currently employed.  Even though they know how bad the job market is, it's easy to assume that there must be something wrong with them if they can't find a job.  In this job market, such an assumption is free:  there are too many qualified applicants for most positions.


What's happening to the long term unemployed is tragic.  Not only are they becoming less employable as time wears on; they're also losing the economic and social capital that comes from holding a job in our society.  

How to fix this?  Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer.  Long term unemployment is not, as far as I know, a protected category, and unfortunately employers often will be able to point to missing skills.  The best solution is a booming economy and a tight job market, but I don't have any idea when that's coming.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In