Nationwide unemployment levels can be deceiving

By: Alex Tobalin – Columnist

During this past year, headlines have spread the news of U.S. unemployment declining to a steady 5.9 percent. This is a positive sign  because last year the rate was recorded to be 7 percent. However, I view this problem from the opposite stance. Yes, falling unemployment is an improvement, but it’s still high and continues to affect individuals and families everywhere.

This is an issue that I take personally and may hold a bias opinion on, but that’s because I know firsthand what it’s like to experience this harsh reality. As a student at a private university, I’m aware of the financial expenses my mom, as a single parent, has to deal with. I understand that it’s not an easy task to send a child to college, especially nowadays, and I watch my mom struggle to do so while striving to find a job in an economy that has seen better days.

Four out of five individuals facing no work are trying to avoid falling to the poverty level according to USA Today. As the news highlights the lowest unemployment rates the U.S. has had in years, it is a common reaction for a person to see this as an accomplishment.

However, unless one has personally experienced the negative effects of this issue, than one cannot fully understand how, even though the rate has dropped, it is still nothing to celebrate. Unemployment is an epidemic and it has repercussions all throughout the country.

Parents everywhere are desperately trying to support their children and, relatable to us as students, new graduates are oftentimes failing at finding jobs that relate to their major. The Washington Post recorded that only 29 percent of college graduates end up having a job that pertains to their major, if a job at all.

This is especially frustrating because I know how much hard work is put forth completing assignments, how many endless hours are spent studying and the amount of dedication students devote to extracurriculars all in an effort to one day get a job in the field they are studying. But when is that “one day?” As students, it makes sense to believe that our job now is to go to school and study a topic for which we’re passionate about and by doing this we’ll be able to land a job after graduation. However, statistics have proved that this ideal scenario isn’t realistic. Graduates moving back home with no job and living for free is becoming more frequent. Is this their fault? In most cases it’s not. The cold truth is that with the spread of unemployment, many qualified people are left jobless and hopeless. Those unemployed range from students to adults and even to the elderly who are finding it increasingly difficult to gain employment due to their age.

In a time where it’s common for hundreds of thousands of people to file for unemployment each week, the most logical question to ask is: what can be done to solve this problem? Honestly, as a 19-year-old freshman, I can’t come up with a perfect answer to please everyone. What I do know, however, is that whatever solution is created to resolve this economic crisis and help all those fighting to hold on must be applied quickly.

People can only last so long; soon families won’t be able to provide for their children and individuals won’t be able to support themselves. As hard-working students who are part of a great community, we need to realize that this problem is real and that just because it may not be affecting you directly doesn’t mean many people aren’t experiencing its devastating effects. Our generation has been blamed for “turning a blind eye” to issues we want to pretend aren’t happening because we aren’t enduring them.

Let’s prove these accusations wrong.

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