SURVEY: Nearly Half Of US Unemployed Have Given Up Looking For A Job

Jobless Americans are reluctant to make significant changes to boost their chances of landing a job.

Only 13 percent of the survey’s respondents have actively pursued more education.


You can teach people new skills and processes, but they “gotta wanna”. With new technology, industries and job skills constantly changing and evolving, how can you NOT keep up and try new things by having a continuous agile learning attitude?  I am not here to drag people over the finish line…see my previous blog post about habitual non learning attitudes.   While working, there are many professional and personal development opportunities presented to workers, often subsidized by the smarter companies that realize the value in a proactive approach to employee skill development. Or you can seek to further your preferred areas of specialization by pursuing a degree. You can gain college credit by applying previous experiences and knowledge. Obstacles such as funding for college can be planned for, just as you would for a vacation or new car… and many scholarships are available, should you invest time in looking for those that may apply to you.

tech school

Interesting part of the survey study results were that greatest number of people unemployed had a high school education; that should reinforce that overall, education can increase your employability and income over your working career.



They are unwilling to relocate: 44 percent of respondents said they are unwilling to relocate to a new town, while 60 percent said are unwilling to move to a new state. These numbers include 57 percent and 72 percent, respectively, of those unemployed two years or longer.



If you are in a place where job loss has been significant, there are only so many local options you can pursue.  Perhaps your city/region/state has not kept up to invest and attract growing new industries (see a learning pattern here?) or due to mergers, cost cutting, technology improvements and global workforce trends, you are no longer needed at the pay & benefits you used to command.

Many states are playing a no – win game of offering tax incentives to large companies to get them to relocate “for jobs” – that is the reality of corporate welfare programs. Or they are jacking up business fees, income taxes and there are other cost of living/quality of life issues that make relocation/startups reluctant to invest in your area.  Time to adapt, improvise and overcome if your location cannot support or sustain workplaces that thrive!

Respondents said they only spend an average of 13.8 hours a week looking for work, despite the fact that experts recommend that looking for work should be a full-time job in itself when you’re unemployed. “The upside to being out of work is that you have plenty of time to conduct a proper job search,” Tammy Gooler Loeb, a career and executive coach told job-matching website The Ladders. “The downside is that you have too much time.”


When I started my own job search after college, there were tiny classified ads in the back of the newspaper called “Help Wanted Ads” and you had to comb through them all to find relevant jobs. There were no internet websites, GPS, mobile phones, job search board databases, Google or LinkedIn to assist with a targeted, automated and organized job search. If you knew your friend’s mom worked at XYZ Corp., chances are you could get a job there AND you stayed there until death or retirement, which ever came first.

Maybe this is why so many are surprised that the average job search takes many was never something they planned to worry about.  Having a cushion or emergency reserves allows you many more options should an unexpected job loss happen. A planned career change can be approached with much more energy and enthusiasm when you can sleep at night.

The majority of respondents – 68 percent – say they are getting some degree of help from others to find a job. But 51 percent say they don’t have the resources to look for a job, including 52.3 percent of the long-term unemployed.


Since most people don’t plan on being unemployed, even with over 4 million open job positions in the US, there still seems to be a disconnect with so many unemployed and these positions not being filled. People are not able to package themselves EVEN if they have the skills required or can articulate their previous accomplishments to showcase how they can perform in the position once they obtain an interview.


When you are rusty in any of these areas as a job seeker, your rate of success in obtaining employment can be delayed. As with most things, time delay is expensive, especially in securing employment or facilitating a successful career change plan of action.  Let a professionally trained & experienced Career Coach assist you rather than trying to wing it on your own. Family & friends, however well meaning, are not trained in job search & career strategies.  If you’d like to save time and frustration and rev up your job search, contact me.

To Your Success,

Coach Jennifer Weggeman