When the American Dream is just a Dream

Unemployment Report

A recent article focusing on the odds of employment after graduating in Nevada put a close-up perspective on a nationwide issue. There’s a growing number of graduating students, and all are hoping to achieve some sort of well-paying job that correlates to their major. But what jobs await them? The answer is startlingly bleak.

Underemployment is nothing new in the last couple years. Its something America’s been struggling with since the recession and collapsing of industries (like the housing market). But now, during what can be considered the ‘reconstruction’, there’s a high number of unemployed workers (with education) that either lack experience to get the job they want or are overqualified for entry-level positions elsewhere.

Over the past couple months, there’s been an addition of 280,000 jobs to the US job market, and yet unemployment rose ever so slightly from 5.4 to 5.5. According to HuffingtonPost, the bulk of these jobs are driven by construction and health care: and this could be one of the reasons why college graduates struggle in finding appropriate work in their field. And even though our economy is consumer based, our consumers are acting more cautiously than in the past. This makes jobs, wages, and wage-increases the most viable way to get them spending again.

Education vs Experience

It sounds like a relatively simple plan: graduate, get a job, contribute to capitalism. But what usually ends up happening is students are often forced to work while earning their education in order to help avoid crippling student loan debt. While struggling to get on your feet after and even in college used to be a sort of ‘rite of passage’ to becoming an adult, the period of time to do so is increasing. And the longer it takes to get “comfortable” in the professional/working world, the more difficult it is to do so. Many end up living at home to try to curtail expenses.

In my book, I talk about how

Our economic system is partially based on a culture that thrives on independence and individualism, not on the collective good… It is fueled by the spirit of work hard, and inner-directed behavior. If I work hard, and with a little luck, I’ll get what I need, and I don’t have to be concerned nor worry about the person who cannot or will not work as hard… it corresponds with the notion of Social Darwinism.
Wealth vs. Work (pg 36)

So what are the currently unemployed supposed to do? And what of those just graduating and future graduates that are going to be entering an over-saturated market?

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