It’s Easy to Feel Invisible in the New Economy
Do you feel ignored and invisible by your government, your state, your media, and often people you know? Whether you are working hard at your J-O-B or working hard at trying to get the opportunity to work, you might be feeling invisible in this world of work that has changed.
The Invisible Super-Employed
The super-employed are largely invisible to their families and friends. There is good reason for this; they are mostly working. Count yourself among the super-employed if you’re working 50-80 hours a week. While you can probably afford the gym membership and other life’s luxuries, you may be hard pressed to arrive on time, if at all. The term working vacation is very familiar to the super-employed. They are always “on” checking email or ready at the phone. Keeping up and keeping up appearances is synonymous with feeling secure in the job, if there is such a thing. If you are looking more and more like a stranger to your family and friends, and even Fido doesn’t recognize you, then you are the super-employed.
Special Cloak of Invisibility
Those unemployed that have exhausted their unemployment benefits “enjoy” a special cloak of invisibility. They are no no longer counted among the unemployment statistics. And the under-employed? Well, they enjoy, double secret cloak of invisibility; they never existed in the first place.
Students are NOT counted in unemployment data, regardless of the type of student you are, or why you are attending school. Technically, you are not available for work. The same holds true for a disability.
Why all the Invisibility?
It turns out, the new economy isn’t recovering like the old economy. There have been some fundamental shifts and the media and politicians are still talking as though we are living in the past. If only we could just lower interest rates and wait things out, the jobs will come back, right? Wrong. That hasn’t and won’t happen. When they get perplexed they simply refer to the recession being over as a jobless recovery. Call it whatever you like, but the fact remains there are too many Americans working too much, while others are not working enough. The world of work has changed and its not coming back the way it was. We have to think a little differently and that begins with the way we collect data and the importance we give it. Making people to feel invisible is not helping the economy or human beings. Let’s look at how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects data that is used to guide this nations economic policy.
Using Tin Cans and String for Surveys
The BLS surveys 60,000 people every month. What is not said, is that they use land lines to conduct this research. These are the most available phone numbers. (There are some BLS quotes that infer that they do site visits, i.e., actually visit people in their homes. You can make your own conclusions from this information.) You have to also answer these phone calls and be WILLING to participate—likely, you will not have a caller ID. They place these people on their list and call them for 4 months, after that 4 month period, these people are taken off the list for 8 months. The nation is separated by regions and the calls are made within those regions. The questions are typically designed to indicate employment. If a survey participant worked one hour within the week of that phone call, that person is considered employed, and counted as such. If you helped your family member on their farm or in their business, but did not get paid, you are still considered employed. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever been contacted by the BLS for a survey of this type?
The BLS also contacts food banks for information. In many areas, you may only visit a food bank one time, so this data is unlikely to be very accurate. It is also widely known that any adult, without dependent children who are still of working age, cannot receive SNAP benefits, and therefore would not be counted. The BLS also counts all temp agency workers as employed. This is the fastest growing segment of our national employment status.
Want to Learn More?
You may go to the BLS website directly and mine through the information there. Then, you will need to find a contact from the BLS to get closer to the truth of what they actually do. Wikipedia will help you understand U1-U6 Unemployment, as well.
Why Getting Counted Matters
Our goal, at Please Count Me, is for people to be counted and stop feeling invisible. We wish to count anybody that want to be counted. You can even submit your story of how your employment status is affecting you. We need to change policy and affect the changes that are necessary to get the fine men and women of this nation working again. Please Get Counted now and share the site with others using the social sharing buttons throughout.