The Nahployment 'Crisis'

Our county has a hiring specialist who works exclusively on helping older people get jobs, and he says any dates beginning with a ‘19’ should be scrubbed off resumes, and suggests using functional resumes that highlight skills instead of the usual chronological type. While I think that can help get someone in the door for an interview, like @Mighty_Mouse’s wife has found, it’s pretty hard to hide your age in person.

I’m planning on retiring in a year or so and would like to find part-time work but I am under no illusions about how that may go.

And right on cue, we had to explain to a young millennial hiring manager that setting up job interviews in Second Life, some kind of virtual world application was not reasonable. He insisted that we need people “comfortable in adopting online technology”.

The job is creating orders for radio and tv ads then approving the resulting invoices. It’s done using Excel spreadsheets and a chrome browser to access our purchasing and A/P system.

This seems like something that would have happened in 2005.

I should have said older millennial. Hiring manager is mid 30s.

I’m glad I’m not looking for a job. I’m 60 years old and have been at my current place of employment for 30 years. Though the job has change immensely over that period.

Having applied for several jobs, I now have an inbox clogged with “submit these multiple assessment tests to complete your application!” links, and I just … really? For a customer service gig?
Stoopit hoops to jump through, for B.S. reasons that stopped being legitimate a long time ago.

I have been back in the US for about seven months now. In the Biden economy I got a job then got a better offer and moved on, before the second one started I moved on to the third job.

I do that all the time, for this reason. Too bad the online application forms have Date of Birth upfront, and mandatory. No AI or human is going to pass that, and voilá: a 44-yo is not in the running.

Have we seen this yet? Indeed has been surveying people about why they’re not looking for work.

I wonder if we’ll see a drop in multi-earner households. Census tracks this (Table H-12) but only annually.

At least in our company, the [outsourced] AI does not have access to the DOB/Race/Gender or any other protected class information, and neither does the human HR screener.

What kills AI is that it takes into account the ultimate disposal of applicant. So if it is seeing a pattern of older folks getting rejected, it will “look” for other indicators that correlate with age and penalize them. And because this is machine learning, it will not even explain what it is doing. It is basically learning the biases of the humans in the next steps, and the humans are saying “How can the AI be biased” with a straight face?

So even if you lied on the application form, the AI might be picking up clues from your writing style, experiences, software used, etc. that indicates you are older than the human’s target age window.

Same thing with gender and race/ethnicity.

I’m not sure if it was the same survey, but I saw a news story in some conservative-leaning financial newspaper where the headline was “30% of people don’t want to return to work because their financial prospects have improved!”, as if this was a major disaster, all the while downplaying the 70% who have completely different reasons for not rejoining the workforce.

They’re so focused on the “disaster” of poor people having (and wanting) more money, they ignore the far larger problem that these jobs just don’t work for a lot of people because of all the other crap.

Interesting survey, thanks. Given how expensive childcare is - and it will probably get more expensive as caregivers get raises in order for them to stay - I wonder how many people in crap jobs with working spouses are going to decide that their incremental income from working is too small to make it worth it. Especially when they have a bunch of savings, which seems to be a factor the survey found also.

I do think it’s generally funny how “businesses are hiring beyond the capacity of the labour force and wages are going up” got spun as a bad thing. Certainly these things have been true during recoveries from previous recessions.

It’s also a feature of recoveries from pandemics…

…particularly in light of the last year and half, where most of them figured out how to live on one income as a matter of necessity. Dual income families have been the norm for so long, that I suspect prior to 2020, a large majority of such families would have denied it was even possible to live on one income, let alone be desirable.

But now they see it’s possible, and a lot probably see it has some actual benefits. So why trade away the benefits for very little extra actual income*?

*Add up child care, commuting costs, extra costs of “work clothes”, and everything else, and the marginal benefit of going back to work gets pretty damn small pretty damn quickly.

I would guess this is going to have long-term consequences for things like retirement savings, paying for college, and divorce settlements. It’s understandable that someone would prefer to stay at home rather than work, but it may add more financial stress at some point. Two incomes make the household more financially stable and better able to weather setbacks. The math for having a parent stay at home may work when the other spouse has a good job and there’s lots of savings, but obviously that can change.

Yeah, really.


We just had four years of an administration that prioritized creating low wage jobs over about everything else. It wasn’t really about the jobs as much as it was cutting taxes on business owners, keeping wages low and gutting regulation, but the side effect that they didn’t think about was they actually did create jobs. Mostly shitty jobs, but still jobs.
Then they deported hundreds of thousands of law-abiding low wage workers. Then the pandemic killed or disabled hundreds of thousand of workers.

And now there are more shitty jobs than they are people that want them. Go figure.

Another factor: Roughly 8 million kids have been pulled from the public school system in the past two years. Homeschooling jumped from 3.3% of all students to over 11% in 2020/2021.

That’s a huge change, and I imagine a lot,of people who would otherwise be back in the workforce are staying home to teach their kids. Since ‘care responsibilities’ is the third largest reason for not going back to work, this is probably a pretty big part of the problem.

Free daycare won’t solve that, either. People are homeschooling because they are fed up with public schools, not because there aren’t public options.

The greatest increasemwas among black families, where the rate jumped from 3.3% in spring 2020 to over 16% this fall. That’s an indictment of the public schools that serve black families, as well as a probable response to the Covid vaccine mandate.

Expect this to get worse. Or better, depending on how much you like public schools.

No, Sam, it’s because conservative governors are actively trying to kill our kids.

Again, you don’t have the horror of living here. I do. Do not speculate in areas where your lack of direct experience skews your perceptions. I don’t talk about Canadians, don’t tell me about Texas.

Or America, for that matter.

The point about retirement is a valid one.

However, I know of at least two couples that went from dual to single income. Despite anticipation of financial disaster, both couples not only survived but they also managed to pay down their debt (one of the two completely paid off their debt) and they feel less stress now than before.

I would, however, argue, that both partners do in fact work. One works outside the home. The other works inside the home, budgeting, coupon clipping, shopping in an optimized manner, cooking from scratch instead of eating out all the time, home maintenance instead of paying someone else to mow the lawn or clean the gutters, no more daily commuting costs, etc.

I’m not saying that would work for everyone (and one of the stay-at-homes does pick up occasional gig work), but it can.