Unemployment’s Toll On The Employed

By Matthew Cameron

Add this to the growing list of scary statistics related to the stalled economy: 28 million Americans who want to quit their jobs to pursue better opportunities, but are afraid to do so because of the poor labor market. As Bloomberg Businessweek puts it in an article running this week:

That’s a lot of careers slowed and dreams deferred. At double the number of the 14 million unemployed Americans, it’s also a huge swath of voters who may be in search of a Presidential candidate who they believe understands their discontent.

Making matters worse for Obama is the fact that most of those affected by this situation are young, up-and-coming workers who traditionally have been a reliably Democratic constituency. Mike Konczal had a good take on this back when the latest jobs data was first released. Essentially, the present situation is tremendously beneficial to existing managers because employees no longer have the bargaining position to extract concessions such as higher wages or improved working conditions. Managers and administrators tend to vote Republican no matter what, so Obama shouldn’t expect a surge of support from this bloc for his inability to adequately address the employment situation. But what he should fear is that young professionals will abandon his party if more isn’t done to rapidly strengthen the economy and improve their prospects for career advancement.