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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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  • 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.

  • Re:US Only ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhillC ( 84728 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:01AM (#5823587) Homepage Journal
    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 without a job between mid-October 2002 and late February 2003. Surely knowing that it recently took someone a little over 4 months to find another job could be useful in predicting current inductry norms?

  • 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.

  • by DarkEdgeX ( 212110 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:27AM (#5823652) Journal
    Don't worry, I've been unemployed since 10/2001 and sure I've had a few interviews (even had one scheduled at Microsoft that got pulled out from under me 3 days before I was set to go (because a prior candidate got the job, nothing to do with me)), but now that the unemployments gone I've gotten used to the idea that I'll--

    1) Be in debt (unemployment really did help, but unfortunately I still had to hit up the credit cards because it just wasn't making ends meet) for the foreseeable future.
    2) Be making slightly above minimum wage doing "light industrial" until the economy stops felching it's own ass.

    And yeah, for anyone who thinks "he didn't look hard enough" or some other holier-than-thou bullshit, I assure you, I looked real god damned hard, and I lowered my salary expectations considerably (going from $70,000+/yr to having salary expectations of only $30,000/yr I would hope qualifies).

    To anyone who says it's not that bad-- you're clueless, or you're terribly lucky.

    On a personal note, I want to thank the US Congress/Senate for finally passing that Unemployment Extension in January when they got back from their Christmas break-- too bad it didn't extend ANYTHING, it just extended the TEUC and TEUC-X programs to those who would have been cut off, for everyone else who had already exhausted both their TEUC and TEUC-X benefits, they basically gave us the finger. Way to go guys. (Read: The TEUC extension provided for 13 weeks of federally funded extensions, and the TEUC-X extension provided for an additional 13 weeks for states with high unemployment (mine, Washington, qualified easily) for a total of 26 weeks. The "extension" passed in January didn't add any additional weeks, it only extended the program for those who were just starting to use TEUC and/or TEUC-X, and added language that made it possible for someone starting on it late in the game to be able to claim their total balance, rather than being cut off on some arbitrary date).
  • "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

  • Re:Unemployment! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jhunsake ( 81920 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:38AM (#5823698) Journal
    It is an unemployment tax. Just because it's not what you think of as being a common tax (income, sales, etc) doesn't mean it's not a tax. In fact, in my state, it's called exactly that.

    Oh, and when is the last time the welfare system came out ahead? If you don't think that some money from the general fund doesn't go there, you're delusional.
  • Re:Unemployment! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mark_lybarger ( 199098 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:38AM (#5823699)
    i'm not sure which state you're from and their procedure, but here in Ohio we were suppose to keep a journal of our employment search activities. a list of the two jobs we persued during the week. i called in my biweekly reportings and there was an automated question asking "did you activly seek employment from at least two jobs during the week you're claiming?" or some such. press one for yes, two for no. nobody EVER asked to see a journal or for actual copies of the employment applications, etc. of course i was seeking a job the entire time, but i had a neighbor who was a daycare worker who lost her job. she NEVER had any intention of finding work and was going to start a home daycare business. she rode the thing to the end, using all possible extensions available thanks to GWB.
  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:13AM (#5823829)

    Gov't spending never helps. The only money the gov't has to spend must be sucked out of the economy from somewhere else (taxes). So to "boost" over here, you must "depress" at least as much (because of the overhead of bureaucracy) elsewhere. This is the same reason school vouchers are a dumb idea - you pay government $100 just to get $80 of your own money back, because you had to pay someone to figure out and perform the redistribution. Just cut taxes and let people keep their own money and we're all better off. Wealth redistribution doesn't work - it's just a way for politicians to buy the votes of the poor so they can stay in power.

  • Re:Unemployment! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MattBurke ( 58682 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:36AM (#5823918)
    > I've seen numbers as low as $380 quoted

    Wow! Here in the UK you get £43/week apparently...

    I say apparently, because I applied for JobSeeker's Allowance a few months ago and got turned down because I didn't pay enough National Insurance [~12% tax on your income] 4 years ago when I was a student!

    Since then, I have paid well over £10,000 in NI yet they still won't give me £43/week.
  • Re:Unemployment! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by craigeyb ( 518670 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @08:37AM (#5823924) Homepage

    If you think unemployment is a lot of work, then what is your opinion of employment!

    I was unemployed in TX about a year ago for 4 months, and my impression was that the unemployment offices are so overloaded these days that they're flat out incapable of checking up on most people. The net result for me was that I had to make a single phone call maybe once each week into an automated system verifying that I was still looking for work.

    Mind you, I'm not complaining here. The last thing most people need when unemployed is to waste additional time putting up with The Man.

  • 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.

  • 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 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!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2003 @12:25PM (#5825514)
    >I am capable and willing to work, even starting a business of my own. Then I got to watch my savings burn up while every single business I did work for waited months to pay me. If it were just withholding payment for services, that wouldn't have been so bad, but I paid for hardware that they were using....

    Make sure to require payment and services be NET 30 or NET 45. If they say they can't commit, then walk away. Another thing you can do is add some fine print: Charge them interest on any late payments. Be persistive. Contact the company's accounts receivable dept and politely ask them about the status of your invoice. This usually works wonders. For deadbeats, keep sending them invoices every two weeks, follow up the the people who approved your services. Last resort, use a collection agency.

    Try to avoid doing business with potential deadbeats. Do a D&B on them to get some history on how they run thier business and check with BBB to see if any complaints have been issued. Usually its the small business that you run into difficulties. Mid-size and Large-Size company usually pay on time or at most a month late.

    The biggest headaches with running your own business is sales, accting, invoicing and collecting receivables. If you have thick skin, self-employment is the way to go. Why be chained to a company for a paycheck? I much rather be dependant on myself for a paycheck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2003 @12:34PM (#5825577)
    I sympathise with you. I lost a job from a company I worked for for 5 years back in May of 2002. Lost it two days after I closed on my first house. At the time of my lay off I had $0.00 in the bank since everything I had went into down payment and closing costs. Go figure.

    It took me 9 months to get the job I have now. I took a 45% reduction in pay, but am now making enough to make ends meet. I have a lot of debt to pay off and at the slow rate in which I earn, I will be paying it off for the next year or two. Most of my retirement savings is gone. Used to live on.

    I also am still persisting on cortizone I pick up in Mexico and celebrexib I order from India because I still don't have proper medical insurance to cover an auto-immune disease.

    Lucky for me my employers gave me 11 weeks severance. But the government helped it self to a lot of it which hurt my survival chances quite a bit. Unemployment insurance wasn't enough to pay the monthy mortgage costs unfortunately.

    Over 9 months I applied for 118 jobs and had 5 interviews. I finally picked up a job as a system administrator. A suitable transition from being a programmer I felt.

    But it's tough. If this job wouldn't have come in when it did, I'd be going under right about now. Manual labor jobs don't work out well when you don't have suitable health for it and they fail to pay enough to cover the bills.

    I've learned a valuable lesson though. I'm going to fight tooth and nail to put away a year's worth of income in case this happens in the future. Also pre-tax retirement savings are of less value than post tax because of the government's rules and penalties. No more pre-tax retirement savings for me my friend. If you need the money, those government penalties will kill you. Also I now know the true value of credit cards. Now that I have a job I'm stocking up on cards and just keeping them for emergency purposes. With no job you cannot apply for credit no matter how badly you need the money.

    I wish I had advice as to what to do to get a job, but if I were to lose my current job I'd be SOL myself. I just wish everyone success in their job search endeavors.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @01:24PM (#5826013) Journal
    Masters? Nahhhh don't do it. I have a Masters and consider myself unemployed since 10/1997.

    Indeed. More education may actually count *against* you because they think you will expect too much in terms of a "challenge" and salary. "Overqualified" is a common expression in this economy. Further, I have heard studies that show that although higher degrees (masters, PhD) make your average earnings a bit higher, they do *not* decrese the amount of time you are unemployed. (Further, the computer industry is different from say chemistry, which does not change as fast. So considering all disciplines may not give full answers for IT people.)

    Maybe get a MBA or something to help make you "one of them", or at least think like them. Making yourself more geeky with a masters in IT will not help your employment situation, I am sorry to say.
  • by mlknowle ( 175506 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @01:50PM (#5826258) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but the money (in theory; in the last few decades we just seem to be borrowing and borrowing) is 'paid back' in taxes during boom times, when the government needs to slow the economy to prevent inflation (or so goes the idea of Keynsian stimulus.) The simple beuty of this idea is that the government borrows money to stimulate the economy when it needs it, and pays it back by slowing it down when needed. If everyone got together and spent or saved as needed, there would be no need for this - but you try convincing everyone to spend money at the same time... Tax cuts acheive a similar, but dilouted function- some of the rebate is saved, not spent.
  • by Vagary ( 21383 ) <jawarren@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday April 28, 2003 @02:40PM (#5826926) Journal
    According to the media in Canada, business admin degrees are even worse off than technical people. Or at least all the BBAs and Bachelor of Commerce degree holders are finding themselves competing with MBAs. Maybe companies are finally realising that it's better to have employees with actual knowledge...
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday April 28, 2003 @04:13PM (#5828280) Homepage Journal
    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 financial aid with the risk there won't be a job available after graduation? Plus come out with a huge debt? I don't know...
  • Re:Unemployment! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrMaurer ( 64120 ) <danlowlite@gmail. c o m> on Monday April 28, 2003 @07:00PM (#5829865) Homepage
    I'd say a decent salary would be about 30,000. This is heavily dependant on where you live, of course.

    I live in the Rockford, IL, area. The industrial based economy around here is notoriously sensitive to economic issues around the country. I've had machinist friends laid off, I've been laid off, teachers have been laid off, graphic designers have been laid off, etc. etc. My skill base is wide and relatively in depth, but still, places can name their price, and demand excessive qualifications for miniscule salaries. Examples? See [] for a few in preferred line of work (web/graphic design). I have a degree, etc. etc., and a decent amount of experience for someone who recently graduated (actually about 2 years ago now).

    I am currently underemployed as a line operator for a nationally known food maker/distributer. (Trust me, you've probably eaten their products before.) I make a little under 20,000 a year, without overtime. I've worked up to 20 hours extra (making about 60 a week) just to make ends meet. Now, because of the fiscal year's imminent demise, earnings at my plant, as all other places it seems, are being inflated by line shut-downs, lay-offs, etc. etc. Not only has my overtime been discontinued, but my line has been closed as well.

    I've been without income for a couple weeks. Luckily, these weeks are the ones without the bills coming in. I think. I've applied for unemployment, but I honestly don't think I qualify. I still send out resumes and applications and so on, and I've gotten two interviews in six months since I've started at my current employer, and those are for internal positions at my plant. I have looked near Chicago and Madison,(WI) and even thought about heading back to school, but my grades the first time around were . . . explainably inconsistant. :-) I had an epiphany, where I suddenly found out that it was important to have a good time with the papers I had to write, and my grades improved, too. Law school was the thought, until I couldn't even afford to take the LSAT.

    I'm glad I have a job, considering, but I haven't been able to pay rent regularly in months, it's been as much as I can for a while. This month doesn't look good either.

    A decent salary is heavily dependant on where you live. There are jobs, yes, but some of them are appalling (telemarketing) or the employers are wanting way overqualified applicants for low-paying jobs because those applicants are desparate. Even after 60 hours a week, I was thinking of getting a second job. My wife won't work because because she wants to stay home with our first child. Obviously, this decision is something I'm against, but I can't force her to get a job.

    In any case, the economy sucks. Tax Cuts might help [] for now, but who knows in a few years . . . fundimental changes are needed, and the longer I go underemployed, the more radical my politics become about the economy and large corporations. I know I'm not the only one that this is happening to. Being treated like a resource instead of a human is disheartening.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2003 @12:15PM (#5834934)
    H1B's are not to blame!!! We live in a global economy period and whether you like it or not, this is a double edged sword my friend. Sure, we like when U.S. businesses go abroad, expand, get more capital, etc. But when it comes to the other direction, we like to put a road block? That's not how it works. Freedom is a bi-directional highway my friend. If you can't compete with other foreing nationals, well go back to school. Learn more. Lower you expectations.

    I'm in the US on a H1B visa because my employer couldn't find any local skills. Do you know how much they paid for all that hassle? Do you REALLY think they wanted to go through all that pain? I'm sure the answer is "NO!". First of all, you can't simply hire any "H1B's" out of the blue. The job has to be vacant for a certain period (it used to be 1 year back when I was hired). They have to give proofs to the Immigration office that they posted this job on magazines and job boards (for 1 year) and that NO ONE was fit for the job.

    I won't go through the whole process but basically, I came here because there was a demand for me. Because other americans couldn't do the job basically!

    And for those who think H1B's are here to "steal jobs", that's not the case, we're here because there is a need. Also remember, we pay taxes just like anyone else, yet we will NEVER benefit from unemployment and retirement income. This is "free money" to the government. And I'm sure the congress is well aware of that (and likes it too!).

    I don't wanna hear about "this isn't fair" or things like that. This is how global economy works! You don't like the fact that your local shoe factory moved to India? That everything you buy is "made in China"? Well get used to it, this is only the beginning! More and more companies are moving abroad. How long before USA becomes a 3rd country and India/China becomes a super power (economicaly speaking)?

    Just remember that America was founded by foreigners looking for a better life. This pattern is and will always be true! Your ancestor was just like me and other H1B's, looking for a better life...

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain