Is Unemployment a Good Indicator of Society’s Health?

July 17, 2009

There is growing concern over the increase in unemployment levels in the United States. Depending upon how you measure unemployment, anywhere from 9% to 16% of Americans are now unemployed. In some cities, this number is much higher. Recently, President Obama predicted that the unemployment rate will continue to increase.

Some sociologists would argue that high levels of unemployment may be bad, but more concern should be directed toward the type of jobs available, not the number. For example, which job openings would be better for a community: twelve temporary jobs offering minimum wage or one permanent job offering eighty thousand dollars a year with good benefits? How would a sociologist respond to this question?

Would you like to respond to this posting? If so, select a topic below and respond to it:

1. What do you think is more important in a community: having a small number of secure and well-paying jobs available or having a large number of low-paying and temporary jobs available?

2. Do you think an unemployed person should refuse a temporary job with a low income in order to wait for a more secure and well-paying job? What does this tell you about the difference in priorities a person might have compared with a community, city, or state?

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One comment

  1. I believe it would be better to have a small number of well-paying, secure jobs available than a large number of low-paying, temporary jobs. Although there would be a small number of low paying jobs, these secure, ongoing jobs would create more secure and temporary jobs. Also if there were many temporary jobs, these jobs would end after awhile, making many rather than a few out of business. The temporary jobs may fix a problem, but they will not draw people into the community. It is the secure jobs that build the community physically and economically.

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