Can we break the ‘cycle’ of unemployment?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Figuring out just who the &uot;unemployed&uot; are may be the first step in finding them employment.

Despite a somewhat deceiving drop in unemployment rates – 4.8 percent statewide in September – the Miss-Lou still struggles with chronic unemployment.

And, according to the people who work most closely with the issue, breaking the cycle that creates that unemployment cycle is a daunting task.

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Tracking of &uot;unemployment rates&uot; is based on the number of people who register with the Employment Security Commission. And that monthly unemployment rate figure is simply a statistic. To understand the problem, we must look deeper to the people behind that statistics.

A good number of them are people who have only part-time or minimum wage jobs right now, and can’t afford the luxury of taking time to train and upgrade their skills, so they can get better jobs in the future.

And still more are victims of layoffs and downsizing, workers with specific job training skills who are faced with moving away from Natchez to find jobs in their same fields, learning new skills or taking a pay cut to work.

Some of the &uot;unemployed&uot; are people who simply don’t want to work … at least not in the jobs that are available. And that number is almost impossible to calculate since many of these folks won’t register with the Employment Security Commission.

So what do employers – and we as a community – do? We must continue to educate, to encourage, to offer opportunities to learn and grow.

And while we’re offering and creating those opportunities, we must find ways to reach inside the cycle of unemployment and encourage those caught in it to break out.