Losing Livelihood

Unemployment is a pressing concern for many within America and the numbers are steadily growing. It is important to mention that poverty rates have increased significantly within the United States over the past several years (Nolen, 2013). For example, within Missouri, the prices have risen by approximately 5 percent from the year 2000 to 2012 (Nolen, 2013). Nationally, poverty has increased 3.7 percent during the same period. As a consequence of NAFTA, low-wage jobs have replaced many of the higher-paying occupations (Nolen, 2013). Consequently, factories have closed and downsized simultaneously as the service industry has grown. American citizens have been very vocal with their perspectives regarding the current financial climate. Currently, personal opinions regarding financial competencies are way below what they were before the recession (Prete, 2013). According to a recent Pew Research study, half of Americans rated their finances either excellent or good in 2007 and earlier (Prete, 2013); however, currently,  only 39 percent feel their financial situation is ideal. According to CAP statistics, the overall poverty rate for all ages rose from 12 % in 2000 to 16.6 % in 2012 (Prete, 2013). Senior poverty increased from 11.8 percent to 13.6 percent in the same period (Nolen, 2013). The overall child poverty rate increased from 11 % to 16.6 % in the same period. This trend is alarming and has forced researchers to study the effects of employment on families. Within this paper, we examine unemployment and assess its effects on workers and their families.

Unfortunately, when the breadwinner loses their primary source of income, the entire family is adversely affected by the loss of employment. For example, the family is used to a steady source of revenue; however, when the income stops, the financial security is threatened. The loss of employment leads to emotional, psychological and social trauma (Gullickson,1996). Regardless of the cause of unemployment, the person experiencing the incident perceives stress and may become dishearten quickly. This phase has been known to adversely affect the happiness and prosperity of the family.  As the days past and the unemployment continues, the disposable income of the household reduced gradually. Eventually, the purchases of the family have to be lowered to adjust to the lack of funds. With the reduction of purchasing power, additional expenditures including food and clothe items are also affected. Consequently, increased poverty is introduced.

Emotional distress is known to arise from job loss (Gullickson,1996). This loss affects both the person that loses the job as well as other family members. Many studies have revealed that the financial hardship produced through unemployment was found to directly negatively affect family relationships.  Numerous studies have argued that marriage and family life are primarily influenced by the unemployment experience (Gullickson,1996). These works reveal the emotional distress that arises from job loss affects all family members equally. Some studies have linked unemployment to levels of violence in the household (Gullickson,1996). Others have reported an increase in levels of family friction, tension, and arguments as a result of unemployment. Furthermore, a recent report reviews documentation pertinent to the numerous adverse effects regarding parents’ unemployment and the financial distress on children(Prete, 2013);.

Regrettably, for many families nationally, the greatest damage caused by this recession has not necessarily been financial, but emotional and psychological trauma (Nolen, 2013). Children have especially been affected by these events. Shockingly, they have been hidden casualties, who have absorbed more information than parents are aware. Currently, several academic studies have correlated parental job loss to adverse impacts in areas like school performance and self-esteem (Nolen, 2013). To substantiate this claim, a recent survey conducted at the University of California reveals that children in families where the head of the household had lost a job were 15 percent more likely to repeat a grade (Nolen, 2013).  Similarly, a University of Chicago professor cited an earlier study that adolescent children of low-income single mothers who endured unemployment had an increased chance of dropping out of school and showed declines in emotional well-being. It is important to mention that long-term stats reveal that children whose parents were laid off had lower annual earnings as an adult than whose parents remained employed.

The unemployment of primary earners brings many challenges for the family.  Sudden loss of financial incomes threatens family structure and security. Additionally, it creates a lot of tension and stress within the household. The family must actively adjust to the change or face significant loss. Ordinary expenditures are significantly reduced or stopped due to financial insecurity. Eventually, it becomes necessary for the family to find alternative sources of income. It is essential for money to be accessible for a family to have a stable existence. Little or no money, disturbs the emotional and mental health of everyone in the household. These issues lead to frequent conflict between partners and the children. The relationships between all members of the family become strained as money problems begin mounting. A lack of financing negatively affects every aspect of the household.  The overall lifestyle of the family is hampered due to housing-related issues.


Work Cited

Gullickson, T. (1996). Living Through Job Loss: Coping With the Emotional Effects of Job Loss and Rebuilding Your Future. PsycCRITIQUES, 41(9). doi:10.1037/00319

Nolen, P. (2013). Unemployment and household values: Distribution sensitive measures of unemployment. Labour Economics, 24, 354-362. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2012.07.008

Prete, A. L. (2013). Economic literacy, inequality, and financial development. Economics Letters, 118(1), 74-76. doi:10.1016/j.econlet.2012.09.029


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