Causes, Consequences and Solutions of Unemployment in America

unemployment in America

Brief History of Unemployment in America

Unemployment is one of the most debated problems in the United States since early the 19th century. It has been calculated that since 1948, the unemployment rate has been increasing at a rate of 5.7 percent. 10.80 percent was the highest rate of unemployment ever experienced in America while the lowest unemployment rate ever experienced was 2.50 percent back in May 1953. Currently unemployment rate has remained high at 8.1 percent as at April 2012. This is according to the latest findings reported by the US department of labor. Unemployment situation in the US has recently characterized by low level of education, the technological advancements in the US industries, capitalization and high demands for cheap labor as inflation digs in day by day.

Poverty rates in the US have been different among different worker groups, according to gender, unemployed men are more than unemployed women, teenagers account for the highest unemployment rate reaching 24.9 percent. Unemployment also seems to be differently spread across the racial discourse, the black Americans hold the highest portion of unemployment, they are followed by Hispanics and the whites hold the least percentage of unemployment in America. The differences in unemployment levels among these worker groups are caused by the respective differences in level of education and social background.

Causes of Unemployment in America

One of the most common reasons why more people in the US are facing unemployment is the competition among industries. The situation on the ground is that American companies face stiff completion from firms in other nations; this is mainly attributed to low production of costs other in other nations. As a result, American companies may close down leaving the employees jobless or lay down some of the employees. As Reich explains, another option to deal with this scenario is hiring workers overseas who accept low wages. While this lowers the cost of production for the company, more people from foreign lands are employed and Americans lose their jobs.

Automation of industrial operations has become a common practice with the current technological advancements. As production becomes more profit driven, companies are seeking use of machines in the prediction as they are more efficient than routine work. “in 1997, it is said to have taken routine workers an estimated thirty-five hours to produce an automobile, at the same time, it was estimated that the same task would take Japanese companies In America an equivalent of eight hours of routine work to complete by mid-1990’s”(Reich 427). Furthermore, foreign companies are proliferating in America, such include Toyota, Sony and others like Philips, these companies are becoming more and more automated with discoveries of computer operated robots. The trend of automation leaves the educated among the advantaged groups as they can handle the machines. However, machines here are seen to take up the role of human beings leaving them unemployed.

Unemployment cannot be separated from poverty. This is because the unemployed people cannot be able to afford higher education that has become a prerequisite to securing sophisticated jobs. It is also in records that the poor contribute to the highest portion of school drop-outs. It is also seen that the Blacks who are among the least educated people come out as the least employed people as opposed to the whites. This implies that the educated people who can secure sophisticated jobs will continue to prosper and the poor people will continue to get poorer. The differences in the level of unemployment may also widen across racial, gender and age discourses.

Capitalization has become the dominating theme in the world economy, companies have focused their efforts towards the production methods that are cheap regardless of the place the societies. This has led to technological unemployment. Further, the educated have become increasingly richer, the richer have become wealthier and the poor who characterize the uneducated have continued getting poorer. These problems can be attributed by capitalism. Karl Marx in the ‘communist manifesto’ explains that the modern bourgeois society is so powerful that it can no longer be controlled; he compares them to a sorcerer who is no longer in control of his powers (217). Marx’s solution seems to be overthrow of the bourgeois by the working community who are referred to as the proletariat society. One of the ways that the government can reduce the difference in unemployment levels across major worker groups as suggested by Marx could be introduction of free education in all public schools. At least, this would annul the effect of poverty on the level of education whereby the rich seem to have an advantage over the poor.

Proposed Solutions to Unemployment in the United States

However, some of Marx’s solutions to the problems of unemployment and dominance of the rich people can be put to challenge when it comes to solution of problems in the modern world. For instance, abolition of all rights of inheritance and confiscation of all property belonging to immigrants can pose more social problems. This is because one aspect that has enabled the US to remain the world’s superpower in terms of economic and military might is the equal opportunity for all its populations, this holds no regard to racial origins. Denying property ownership to immigrants would therefore weaken the economic base of the United States. Abolishing rights of ownership can lead to depriving people of their employment. More problems would also arise as people are already used to capitalism.

Some of the best ways to mitigate unemployment could be proper teaching of skills to all people to enable them cope with the modern technological requirements, early retirement of employees to pave way for the young generation and also teaching people not to be dependent on civil employment. Self-employment can be a good solution too.

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