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How to Deal with Unemployment and Underemployment?

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The marginal decrease in the unemployment rate does not necessarily translate into what the ground reality is, where unemployment rates do not account for individuals who have stopped attempting to look for jobs altogether or the large numbers of individuals who have settled for work which is below their paygrade. Looking at the bigger picture in the USA, statistics are strongly leaning towards a reality that is grim, indicating that only a little over 60% of the population which falls under the ‘adult’ age bracket – stretching from 16 to 64 – are employed, and even they are making less than required on an average.

How to deal with unemployment and underemployment?

Fighting with issues of unemployment, underemployment and a job market that is at constant odds with the number of people standing in line and waiting for interviews, the widespread income drop shows in the Labor Bureau reports, but it still hasn’t accounted for the psychological, physical and familial stress that the situation has caused – the human toll, so to say. The recession in 2008 has not entirely been tackled, which is evident in every field of life in one way or the other, but did you know that the median income for each household in the US is still 8% below than what it was before the recession?

Tackling such issues and dealing with unemployment from the individual and agencies point of view works on two levels, one where each working individual or potential-working individual in the family or household takes measures to increase their chances of getting and keeping a stable job, and the other wherein macro issues are altered and improved from the side of the agencies, military and government.

From an individual’s standpoint

What they are looking for

Keeping in mind that the job opportunities are now a needle in a haystack, and the individuals up for each position are often overqualified, even the course you choose to pursue has a considerable impact on your chances at a good job, if not any employment at all. While your love for the liberal arts or natural sciences may lead you to choose them as a major, it is important to be aware of the majors that are preferred by employers.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers has narrowed down the employers’ and agencies’ demands to four major categories in bachelors, masters and even doctorate levels – engineering, computer, communication and information sciences and technology, and pure sciences. Graduations such as liberal arts, natural resources, and agriculture are very low on the demand scale.

Even within the majors that are in demand, employers are looking for lateral and problem-solving skills, quantitative analysis skills and an on-hand experience as opposed to academic prowess.

The appropriate approach

It’s not enough to skip through classifieds any longer, or even apply with an immaculate resume and a letter – every person looking for employment needs an approach both proactive and aggressive.

Here are a few out-of-the-box steps that may help you get the ball rolling:

  1. Show them how badly you want it: Sorting through hundreds of applications, the human resources team is on the hunt for a resume that stands out. A short paragraph or two on why you want to work for that particular company, and what you will do once you get the position can give your application that extra attention it needs. It’s all about relevance and specificity, so don’t write a general note for all the places you are applying to – personalize!
  2. More than just an application: Answering advertisements and front door attempts are not cutting it anymore – use your resources to get in touch with people who have the power to hire. Even if you approach them from the standpoint of getting advice, a foot-in-the-door short-term project is good enough for you to nurture a relationship.
  3. Give more than you might get: Try other routes, propose to volunteer for a few months as a trial – at least the employer has the incentive of free labor if nothing else.

Pooling resources and strict budgets

All said and done, shoe-string budgets and the need to cut corners are inevitable when it comes to dealing with unemployment within the month’s expenditure, so it’s a good idea to get together family resources and work on sustenance while you job hunt. Keep in mind that pooled resources are always easier to budget through, cutting down on the individual expenditure and saving money collectively.

From the employers

Strategic creation of opportunities

Human resource management from the employer’s side should work towards collaboratively creating employment for individuals with all skill sets, even those that are lacking in academic excellence. Even outside of the larger fortune 500 or similar employers, citizens who can afford it can encourage personal aides for their homes as a way of generating jobs – especially in sectors such as education, housekeeping, and round-the-clock health care.

Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding

Yet again, a way to both stabilize the economy and create jobs, entrepreneurship should be a part of the curriculum, encouraging students or newly graduated individuals to develop businesses that can sustain them as well as others in their field, using capital from resources besides their own inheritance or companies with capital.   

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  1. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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