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Unemployed? How Long Until You Find That Next Job 401

An anonymous reader writes "If you're unemployed like me, you probably want to know how long it will last. Well, someone decided to see if they couldn't stastistically predict how long they would be unemployed by polling others - the results page is up for a variety of industries and it's interesting. Clearly the more data put in, the better the results, so while your at it, submit your own information."
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Unemployed? How Long Until You Find That Next Job

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  • I18n (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:51AM (#5823560)
    How hard would it have been to make this international ?
  • by KDan ( 90353 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:52AM (#5823563) Homepage
    Well, he sure won't find a job in a department that's involved in any kind of statistical work, that's for sure. The main thing which comes out of his tables is that there is little no correlation between salary and unemployment length. The only remotely useful table in there is the unemployment by industry, but there the sample is far too small to derive any conclusions...

    There's nothing wrong with not finding correlation per se, but the author of the site presents the tables as if they had some meaning, without mentioning the fact that their only meaning is that they have no meaning... He should certainly make a note about it, and that page would certainly gain from having the Pearson correlation coefficient calculated for each table (and having only two data columns in each table).

    • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:07AM (#5823813)
      I agree the sample size is too small. For most of the industries his sample size is 1, 2 or 3. He can't take meaningful conclusions from such small samples.

      But I have other problems with the analysis. For example, he lumps all restaurant jobs together. This apparently includes a wide-variety of specialties (e.g., manager, cook, waiter) under a wide-variety of skill-levels (e.g., McDonalds and a Five-Star Restaurant). Similar comments could be made for Engineering. I might expect a difference in say Civil Engineers (the construction industry is doing well) and Electrical Engineers. He also doesn't consider years of experience directly. For those jobs requiring a college degree, he doesn't consider degree level. The list goes on...

    • Someone please explain to me, what the table for average salary by length unemployed is for ?

      Does this mean that if I have waited for 4 months, the average salary that I should expect is $25000, but if i wait for 5 months, the average salary that i should expect changes to $85000 !!

      Disclaimer: The data above was taken from the engineering page here: stry=Engineering
      • It's just the other way around ?

        If you want to make $25000 (or have the skills/age/.. for this wage) you're going to be unemployed for 4 months on average.

        However if you're more experenced, older, ...
        and apply for jobs where you'd make $85000,
        it'll take you a month more before you find
        a job like this..
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:53AM (#5823565) Journal
    Now why link to the site? It has practically no data so far, and that is all it's good for... There is no verification of the data, and the data is input by random visitors.

    A /. poll asking the same question would be many times more accurate.
    • by I Love Soup ( 655061 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:13AM (#5823616)
      And of course IT is going to the lead the rest of the categories, since unemployed IT people are more likely spending their (abundant) free-time surfing on the webnet.
    • A /. poll asking the same question would be many times more accurate.

      Brilliant! I believe you may have stumbled on a way to measure the veracity of statistics!

      One slashdotPoll == margin of error is within +/- 99.99% (give or take a CowboyNeal or two.) Think about it, it sounds almost as good as the legendary "Five Nines" (from the other direction, of course, but that's yet another beauty of statistics.)

      Perhaps we need a Slashdot poll to determine whether or not this should be included as a new Stand

  • US Only ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JTunny ( 653851 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:53AM (#5823566) Homepage
    Asks you to enter a state and salary in dollars Any chance of including UK ppl somehow ?
    • Re:US Only ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PhillC ( 84728 )
      I was going to post something similar. With such a globalised marketplace and options such as "telecommuting" relevant for many, it would be useful to gather information from around the world. Surely a programmer in the US could potentially take on contract work from UK based employers? This is true for other professions as well, such as journalism and graphic design.

      I think it would also be helpful to poll people who were recently unemployed, not just those currently out of work. For example, I was withou
  • by jakedata ( 585566 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:54AM (#5823568)
    I went 12 weeks without a nibble, then had three offers in February. Then nothing.

    Screw the unemployment checks, I took the job.

  • unemployment (Score:5, Informative)

    by prmths ( 325452 ) <prmths@f0[ ]rg ['0.o' in gap]> on Monday April 28, 2003 @06:56AM (#5823573) Homepage
    I've been unemployed since January of 2002. Thats about 28 months so far
    but anyways.. I've noticed that things look like cr*p lately and it'll be a while before they improve. So i've decided that i'm going back to school to get my master's. I've wanted to do it anyways... Hopefully that'll put me in a higher standing than I am now..

    On a side note; I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the times or not, but a friend of mine told me that even if someone has a ton of experience, and then they graduate college with a bachelor's or masters or whatever... Some employers tend to ignore all work experience prior to graduating. does anyone know if this is true? if it is, i think it's the most retarded HR practice i've EVER heard of. Can someone PLEASE enlighten me on the subject.
    • by goldcd ( 587052 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:02AM (#5823590) Homepage
      That[']s about 28 months so far - anybody fancy offering this maths/english wiz a job?
    • This time around, hit the math books a little harder.
    • This is not the first recession in our history; nor is the last one for sure. Unemployment does not sound too great and does affect your confidence and all, but it happens to everyone (which is to say, much of it depends on luck not so much your skill or personality). As a matter of fact, some of, what we call, successful business men experienced the same. Have you heard of this guy, Michael Bloomberg? Well, Solomon Smith Barney fired him almost 20 years ago. He ended up starting up on his own and he's
      • I've actually had several businesses since I was 18. I never could get much business. While I may be great at the technical side of things and be able get a job done about 2-10 times faster than all my peers; I can't sell myself worth sh*t. I think that's a common problem among technical minded people. (at least from my experience) The people I see succeeding in their own businesses are the 'tards' that think they know it all and come running to me for every little question they have.
        Want to be my salesman?
      • maybe it's a sign. [...] Maybe you are not supposed to be employed

        Strangely enough, some hobo on the subway was saying that exact same thing to me the other day. ;-)
    • The only ones I know of who does this is the European Union (for all their permanent positions). /m
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:04AM (#5823592) Journal
    A poll on this topic should be interesting... my train of thought goes like this:

    Most Slashdotters have BIG ideals.
    Most Corporate types hate BIG ideals, (except as in BIG money!)
    Few idealists are moneyed, fewer can employ others.

    I guess it follows that most Slashdotters are not employed :-). There are many ways my assumptions could be wrong.. I'd like to hear some.
  • One good option (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ciryon ( 218518 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:05AM (#5823596) Journal
    I was playing around in the "IT-bubble" for some years until eventually the company was almost dead. No sales = no profit. :)

    Then I decided to do the only good thing; go back to school. At the same time I run my own (very small scale system development/management) company to get some extra cash. So in some years I'll hopefully have graduated computer science when there are more jobs.

    • Then I decided to do the only good thing; go back to school.

      This must be about the third post like this that I have read. How on earth do you go back to school / college / university if you don't have any money?
      • How on earth do you go back to school / college / university if you don't have any money?

        Not having income and not having money are not the same thing at all. It is also possible to get loans to go back to school. I certainly considered doing it myself.
  • by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:10AM (#5823610) Homepage
    I don't know if this makes any sense or not... but I would stress that it is kind of pointless to use a tool like this, since you might be an exception yourself.

    Statistics often make sense on a demographical scale, but never on an individual scale.
    • Your argument does *not* make any sense, unless you believe ALL statistics are useless unless they make a prediction with 100% certainty. Are statistics relating smoking behavior and cancer rates useless, because there *are* exceptions ?
    • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @10:47AM (#5824690) Homepage
      Statistics often make sense on a demographical scale, but never on an individual scale.


      If 1000 polled people all indicate that it took them precisely one year (365 days) to find a job, then - assuming good random selection of the sampling pool - there is a statistically strong case that an individual will need one year to find a job. On the other hand if 1000 people indicate it took them on average one year, but their individual times were uniformly distributed between 0 days and 730 days (2x365), then there is a strong case that an individual's experience will be unpredictable... despite the average time being the same.

      The likelihood of a group statistical inference being representative of an individual's experience is encapsulated in the standard deviation. A wide standard deviation indicates low individual correlation, while a narrow std dev suggests that an individual experience would correlate well to the group statistic.

  • by phusers ( 661084 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:19AM (#5823626)
    For the unemployed out there, I can only offer some economic view on what needs to happen. According to Okun's law, there needs to be a 2.5% growth in the GDP in order for unemployment to go down. The GDP figure was released last week and well, unemployment won't be going down for a while. Sorry guys, until the economy picks up somehow either through increase consumption spending, govt expenditures in the form of jobs, or increased business investment the economy will not grow to the required 2.5% and will not lower unemployment.
    • by freddyfred89 ( 591786 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @09:29AM (#5824192)

      Nice addition to the discussion. I think I can contribute here. First, the submission gives 2.5% as the minimum value of growth; economists refer to this as the "natural" rate of growth. It is the level of growth such that, if the economy grows above this value, the unemployment rate will decline.

      You can estimate this value. In the U. S., recent estimates are in the neighborhood of 3.3% (see Blanchard's Macroeconomics, 3rd ed., p. 183).

      I agree with the reviewer, though. The U. S. is nowhere near this rate of growth; therefore, unemployment rates will not decline anytime soon.

      There is also a subtle issue of delays in labor markets in response to booms and busts. In all likelihood, it will take around three quarters after any increase in output growth for the condition in labor markets to improve. I think we'll all need to remain patient for a while longer.

  • Odd Tood (the site this is hosted on has some of the funniest Flash animations I've ever seen. Esp. his first one "Laid Off"... but didn't he get busted because he made some damn good money in his "tip jar" and never reported it to the IRS? Anyone have the skinny on this? PS: watch the videos. You'll laugh. [].
  • The Tech boom is gone. And will probably not happen again. The days of $100k a year for using front page is over. So no longer expect management to treat you like gods. You are like everyone else in a tough echonomy. That being said you will have to find ways to be more adaptive in your skills and you may have to do some things you may not want to do. Including working with Microsoft Stuff, accecpting payrole of around 40k a year (depending on your locataion).
    Also you can nolonger expect people to be look
    • "The Tech boom is gone, And will probably not happen again."

      Not so! It may be gone for now, but mark my words the next tech boom is the semantic web. Companies will want their services exposed via webservices so that intelligent agents can search for goods and services automatically. This will mark a new era in terms of data accessibility, much like the internet boom in the 90's.

      That's my reckoning anyway :P

      • by mark_lybarger ( 199098 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:57AM (#5823770)
        there's a big difference between what you're describing and what the internet boom of 96-00 experienced.

        in a web services world it will be companies that have a solid business plan, and compines that think things trough. in the Iboom, it was anybody and everybody putting up a web site that provided nothing. there was also the fact that there was this Y2K issue that many many of companies spent millions of dollars for legal reasons to change 5 lines of code in their software systems and spend enourmous hours testing said changes across the board and saving every test log file and going through various levels of audits of the testing. basically y2k projects coupled with the internet boom kept a lot of people employed and brought in a lot of others.

        exposing webservices will let a few good people work for a while.
      • Not so! It may be gone for now, but mark my words the next tech boom is the semantic web. Companies will want their services exposed via webservices so that intelligent agents can search for goods and services automatically. This will mark a new era in terms of data accessibility, much like the internet boom in the 90's.

        This is a definite possibility, but I don't think it can happen as long as Microsoft is #1. The entire reason the Liberty Alliance exists is that many competing businesses didn't want Pas
    • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:55AM (#5824024)
      Why does this textbook babble get moderated as "Insightful"? You've just told them what every fucking web job board out there keeps telling people. Improve your skills... blah, blah... take a lower paying job blah, blah... be proactive blah, blah..

      Guess what moron, 100% of those unemployed already do that. And they stand no fucking chance in hell, let me tell you.

      Here's the key to job hunting: "networking"... And not the type involving NICs. My wife couldn't find a job as an accountant for over a year. Until I winced to an influential friend of ours. He made a few calls and the next week the phone started ringing.

      The moral of this is: Rather than learn the next pile of buzzwords, you stand a better chance of getting employed if you play lots of golf. I'm not being nasty just telling you that as a friend.

    • Irrelevant. It's not just tech jobs that are hard to find, it's ALL jobs. People are fighting over retail jobs at this point. A 40k job working with Windows would be heaven; but even those jobs are insanely hard to find. And every opening will result in HUNDREDS of applications.
      • Yeah, no doubt.

        My city has two pages of unemployment section and only 3 or 4 actual jobs, with the rest being those pyramid schemes where you pay them $75 for the job and then you can sell other people jobs for $75 each.

        My unemployment ran out this morning, so unless I can get an extension I'm going to be amongst the hundreds of applicants for a $6 / hr job at a fast food place.

        Sure glad I got those two BS degrees while the economy was so good instead of working.
    • You will need to be proactive.

      Being proactive in a passive way sometimes works well. Just by posting my resume to and making it searchable landed me an interview or two.

      There are lots of openings that aren't posted but are put into the hands of recruiters/head-hunters who then do keyword searches on the WWW. I'd bet some companies prefer to do this, because actually posting a job would create a useless deluge of "will work for food" resumes.
  • There are lies (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MacroRex ( 548024 )
    and there are damn lies, and then there are statistics. Anything this generic should be taken only as a mildly interesting curiosity and nothing more.

    "I'm a IT guy and have been unemployed 7 months now, so I should find work in only 3 months.". How stupid is that? Everyone is a special case, and in the Real World(tm) employment situations depend on numerous big factors which have absolutely no effect on the statistics on that page. Local employment situation, work experience and references, charisma, per
  • by not-quite-rite ( 232445 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:47AM (#5823729) Homepage Journal
    I personally would like to know when i will next get sex.

    I was hoping to use to statistics coupled with the data gleaned from slashdot....


    silly me

  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by benjiboo ( 640195 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:55AM (#5823757)
    Hope this is relevant. [] is an interesting compilation of stats about the UK job market, e.g. average earnings by skill, region etc.
  • <Rusty Voice> I remember in my day when a boy could get a job at 12 and retire with the same job at 65. None of this new fangled Screens tell people how long they will be unemployed...</Rusty Voice>
  • Whilst i am waiting for the page to open (and by the looks of things it has been slashdotted into oblivion) it struck me that an unemployed person is a lot likelier to make up a page like this than someone with a job :)
  • Do it yourself (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:36AM (#5823913)
    Never mind waiting for someone to "give" you a job.
    If you want something to do, start doing it.

    Instead of selling a lot of your time away to big corporations (unless you really want to, of course) and such, start your own little company. It's not that hard.

    The most important thing is that you do something that you want to do and that gives you satisfaction. Don't wait for someone else to "employ" you. Take control of you own life. In the end, that's what counts for most of us.
    And it's usually more fun.

    (Oh, btw. don't buy into pyramid-schemes, Get Rich Quick-stuff or MLM. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)
  • Network. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Monday April 28, 2003 @09:30AM (#5824197) Journal
    Lots of tech people are long-term unemployed. But some are obviously succeeding.

    When times are tough you have to (and I hate this phrase) "re-invent yourself". During the boom it was sufficient to be a surly technology prima-donna with the social skills of Spock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

    Competition is much harder now. Where I live, 18 months ago, there was at least one tech job in the weekly paper each week of the C++/Java type. Currently, there's about one every three months. Our entire national population is only 78,000 so you can imagine that we don't have exactly masses of tech jobs to start with.

    The last two jobs I got weren't advertised. In fact, the jobs didn't even exist - the positions were created.

    What was the secret to my success in getting employers to create a new job for me? Networking. Not the type you do with a NIC and a reel of cat5e (although it ultimately involved quite a bit of that) but going out and socializing, and meeting people who ran businesses or were in charge of IT departments.

    In the current climate you can't sit at home and surf the web/newspaper/have an agency pimp your {CV|resume} - the advertised positions just aren't there. (One agency told me they hadn't seen a tech position in 9 months). You have to go out of the house and get to know people. If you have an interest that many people who run businesses share, that's even better - I'm into flying and I've met many valuable business contacts through the flying club.
    • Re:Network. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ranger ( 1783 )
      Networking works when you have friends who are employed. If they are out of work too it's kind of difficult to network.

      FYI. I was out of work for 15 months. And now I'm stuck at a call center job. It sucks being chained to a desk, but it's better than living in a cardboard box.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a *brick and mortar* architect (I read /. because I am conscripted into IT "manager" postition here), I can tell you that other professions have it far worse. We make half the money and are laid off en masse far more regularly than programmers et al. Welcome to the real world.
  • Selection bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @10:10AM (#5824431) Journal
    Wow, what a useless source of stastistical information. Aside from being Slashdotted at the moment, there is a nasty selection bias associated with these data. Like phone-in polls, this is not a random sample.

    The question we can try to answer is: do people who spend long periods unemployed do so because they waste their time filling out on-line surveys?

  • 11 months. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sonicboom ( 141577 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @10:43AM (#5824663) Journal
    Dec 1, 2001 (saturday afternoon) receive FedEx package from employer - I'm laid off. One month of severance.
    Jan 1, 2001 - started collecting unemployment.
    June-August, 2001 - spent EVERY DAY at the beach!
    September 2001 - started looking for a new job - unemployment ran out - started working as a bartender and doorman at local rock club.
    November, 2002 - started new job.

    But over these 11 months I was using Dice, monster, flipdog, etc. to send out resumes - I sent hundreds and hundreds (into the thousands) out - and only recieved a handful of interviews - and fewer job offers. I declined most until I found what I was looking for.

    I think alot of it depends on one's financial situation, and whether or not they have wives and kids - as mouths to feed tend to make one find jobs quicker and make the job seeker a bit less picky.
  • by cosimo ( 516163 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @10:52AM (#5824731)
    There's been a lot of slamming going on here about this page, what its good for, etc. First off, the url ends in oddtodd just because the idea actually started on the oddtodd forums. Beyond that, it's completely seperate. Yes, I realize the report pages offer little information statistically - at least at this point - I know that comparing one's unemployment and salary There's been some criticism that I don't say that the tables don't mean jack (yet). A few things in my defense - I sent the link to a few yahoo groups. In each of those cases, I pointed that out. It also says so in the help, and up until recently it said so on the main page. I also figured that people have a brain and can figure out that if you are comparing yourself to 7 people.... Anyway, the site's mostly for fun with some statistical stuff being pulled out. IT's a general audience site. Someone here suggested I just list correlation coefficients. Common, would anyone understand it? Finally, it's much harder to calculate correlation coefficients on the fly - simple everyday "I can understand what that means" figures like averages and maximums are much easier and people actually know what they are. Does that mean that I won't try to use the questions for some "real" stats? No, I do plan to, but I'm not able to run SPSS regressions on the fly - mostly cause I wouldn't know where to start to make it work. Anyway, thats it. Comments / thoughts welcome.
  • by BlueStreak ( 140891 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @11:24AM (#5824971)
    I lost my job on Sept 11, 2001 of all days... After almost a year of unemployment, in which I couldn't find a bloody thing, I decided to cut my losses and return to school. I have an electronics diploma (I'm an Electronic Technologist - which is inbetween a technician and an engineer). I'm now doing my comp sci degree.

    What I quickly discovered was that, as a normal unemployed person I was of little interest to companies. Once I became a student I was in high demand! It didn't take me long to find work (regardless of the season though there are distinct hiring times) and I could choose from really good jobs! The reasons why I found work so easily were :
    1) I was much more skilled then the average student (I've got almost 5 years of solid SW development experience).
    2) More importantly: as a student under 25 (I think the max age was raised to 28 now), I could fall under the federal government programs here in Canada where the government would subsidize my salary (it's an incentive for companies to hire students). I don't have to apply for it; my employer handles that.
    3) The Canadian Federal government has a good website to connect students with jobs in the government. Anyone that applies for funding gets their job posted on their website (real jobs! holy @#%$#!). They also have a special program called FSWEP that helps students find jobs in the federal government. What's really cool about it is that they don't want to know what level of experience you have, only the basic skills. When a hiring manager wants to find somebody the program randomly pulls 4-6 names of people that have the basic skills require (i.e. knows MS office, speaks French, knows C++, etc) and they have to hire one of those people. With that program I got 4 calls - many of them for web development. Looking back I should have taken one of those jobs, a part time job, as the websites in question were really big and complex - it would have been interesting (I'm a C/C++ hacker at heart).
    4) I was available for part time working during the school year. Lots of part time jobs during the year! The disadvantage is that it severly effects the time I have to study; I take the minimum amount of courses to be full time. As such, it'll take me 4 years to get my (honours) degree (if I took a full course load I could be done in 2.5-3 years, even less if I took summer courses).

    The work has always been interesting and in my general field. The first place I worked at, a charity, I was writing custom video conferencing software using this nice SDK and accompanying hardware (it was very interesting work). I now work in an IT team in the Federal government, on a project to migrate from Win98 to XP.

    As for pay, there are definite advantages to being a student. First off, since I fall under those government programs, there are guaranteed minimum levels of salary. At the moment I make $15.61 CND per hour ($10.71 US). Next year I can expect to make around $18/hour if I continue in the federal government. The other advantage is that by being in these organizations, I have the proverbial foot in the door (i.e. where I work now I can apply for any internal job postings).

    I think that the biggest advantage of being a student, aside from that fact that I will get the degree I've been desiring for many years (actually I care more about the education then the degree), is that I pay virtually no tax. What I do pay, I will get (virtually) all of it back at tax time!

    I know this isn't an option for everyone but in my case I really wanted to get my degree - everything worked out well. Life is good at the moment.

    BTW, slightly offtopic but one of the HUGE advantages of being unemployed here in Canada is healthcare: it doesn't cost a cent (well, you do pay for drugs but generics are common & cheap). My wife made extensive use of the healthcase system here (got quickly treated by uber-experts for what, at first, appeared to be cancer). If we had to pay anything at all for the treatment she recieved for 3 months (i.e. even 10%), we'd be completely broke and living with my parents. The parking at the hospital, by itself, burnt a significant hole in my pocket!
    • I've been considering going back to school full time for my masters also, but there's one big problem: cost. I live in the US and I don't know how I'd be able to afford a masters program with little to no income. Of course I would go after scholarships and such, but they're hard to come by. Financial loans (at least for the schools in my area) can't completely cover tuition for the masters programs. I suppose they're hoping you're working part time. So the question becomes: go for scholarships and fina

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury