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Unemployment in America - Sociology Paper

  1. Sep 18, 2005 #1
    I thought about putting this in College Homework, but I felt that I could get more people that know about sociology in here. If you feel tempted to move it to homework help, so be it.

    Recently, I was given the assignment to type up a six page report using quantitive data on a "social problem".

    After thinking for 13 days I decided that I wanted to do something on unemployment in America.

    I'm having a problem with collecting quantitive data. More importantly, I'm trying to get data that is accurate. I don't want to collect data from sources from "he said, she said" sources.

    So far I've collected this.

    Most of these people don't have any type of sources for their quantitive data making me wonder about the quality of accuracy.

    In my paper I'm suppose to talk about unemployment in america. Social conflict as to why it's happening. An interactionist view on it, along with a socialist view. I want to have at least three views in there. More are welcome with suggestions.

    Where do you think I could good. reliable, accurate sources. I don't want online sources unless those materials link to reliable souces.

    Supposedly in the paper I'm suppose to state how it is a social problem and throw out a bunch of numbers and how people are dealing with it.

    After all that I'm suppose to type up a research proposal on looking into it further or trying to help solve some its problems.

    I figure that stating how educated people are would be a nice thing in this paper, because in my opinion, I see that knowledge is power, and with knowledge you can go find a different job.

    All help is welcome. I thank all in advance who help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2005 #2


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    For one, try some sources like the US Department of Labor and US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Be careful though as the US does have relatively low unemployment rates (and if it's going to have a socialist view on it, there is definitely low unemployment rates compared to what many developed socialist nations have seen)
  4. Sep 18, 2005 #3


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    The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics is about as good as it gets.

    You might want to look at the Department of Commerce (http://www.commerce.gov/) and particularly the Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/) and Bureau of Economic Analysis (http://www.bea.gov/).

    The real issue is true 'employent' and true 'unemployment'.

    Discouraged workers, those who give up looking for work, are not counted. People incarcerated in the criminal justice system are not counted. People on disability, including mentally ill, are not counted.

    Then there are those who work part-time, but would rather work full-time, but cannot find suitable full-time employment.

    Then there are those who have accepted jobs at much lower salaries than before - e.g. the pilots at the bankrupt airlines.
  5. Sep 18, 2005 #4
    Any ideas if there are any books on this? I'd like to include a source from something published.
  6. Sep 18, 2005 #5


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    The reports by the government agencies are published. Personally, I would have picked a different topic, though. Trying to get quantitative about unemployment naturally emphasizes the economic nature of the problem, and not the social nature. To get at why it is a social problem, you need to analyze the social reasons that people are unemployed, which you aren't going to get from the unemployment numbers themselves. I'd think it is almost best to start from a hypothesis based on anecdotal evidence. Look, for example, at the Jungle Cruise operators at Disneyland back in the 90s that were reauditioned and laid-off for being too sarcastic and "un-Disney" in their spiels. They were one of the most popular attractions in the park, so it is hard to say that there was any economic reason for them to be laid-off. (Then again, this is an arcane and probably trivial example - but it was the first that popped into my head.)

    What I would actually do is look at the social effects of unemployment, which I think are much greater than the social causes of unemployment. That you can do quantitatively as well. Compare and contrast the crime rates and rates of incarceration between those who are employed and those who are unemployed. Look at depression and illness rates, divorce rates, and all those things. I don't know of any books that compile these statistics (I've never even taken a Sociology course), but they are also kept by state and federal agencies that publish them yearly. If you cannot find the yearly reports online or don't want to use an online source, they are probably kept at whatever public library is near you and possibly at your school library as well, somewhere in the reference section.
  7. Sep 18, 2005 #6
    I only have until October 3rd.

    But finding a positive coorelation between depression and unemployment along with crime rates would be a complex thing.

    Maybe I should just change it to highschool dropout rates and unemployment. Make it revolve around teenagers or something. I'm not procrastinating, it's just that one isn't suppose to be biased but making a paper about what one assumes is a social problem is biasing something as a problem. I want to get the report done asap, but I can't figure out a decent enough topic.

    I only care about education so I have figured that all woes and troubles can be solved with knowledge. From what I've learned about unemployment in the U.S. by doing these topics it's because people aren't very well educated. I think all social problems lead to a lack of education and the ability to use knowledge to overthrow your "enemies".

    Yeah. Thank you for all of your help. I've decided that unemployment isn't a serious topic because people went to Texas after Katrina looking for jobs which probably boosted the economy. Maybe some people decided to do military, others went elsewhere.

    However, highschool dropouts have to do with many factors including economics, psychology, and government.

    Government arresting and disabling the young from going to school.
    Poverty making them have to work instead of go to school.
    Psychological behavior problems with peers and others.

    I see more problems there than anything else.

    Unlike children, adults have some cash and won't get thrown in jail for being out on the streets unless loitering is illegal. They also have more mental stability.

    Thank you all for your help. I've decided what my topic is going to be now.
  8. Sep 18, 2005 #7


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    Well one wonders exactly how motivated these people are to go to school in the first place if they are out loitering instead of being in school. Kinda seems like they are disabling themselves... And exactly when did crimes designate punishment for kids but not adults? Hell its really the other way around. Some 15 year old goes out and punches a neighbor, gets a couple days in juvi maybe and the worst part is having to be reported to your parents. Adult punches his neighbor, well thats aggrevated assault, jail time, possible lawsuit....
  9. Sep 18, 2005 #8
    Yes, but I'm talking about curfew. In Rockford, Illinois recently there has been a daytime curfew established where not only children are penalized, but also guardians when their children loiter outisde of school during the daytime.
  10. Sep 18, 2005 #9


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    Do you need to be overly quantitative? Say you graphed unemployment vs. whatever in Excel and it looks like there is a positive relationship. Can't you say something like "this evidence is not conclusive, but available data suggest that unemployment and 'whatever' are positively related"? And then you can discuss why that might be and/or might not be so. Pros vs. cons. Conclude with "more research is needed." What can be said that is truer?
  11. Sep 18, 2005 #10


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    Ha, no kidding. It always gets me when professors want students who have been studying something for three weeks to draw a positive conclusion based on the research done for a single paper. Sometimes you'd think the education system is designed to teach people how to draw hasty conclusions.
  12. Sep 18, 2005 #11
    Sometimes it seems like the educational system is designed to make people stupid.
  13. Sep 18, 2005 #12


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    There are well educated people who are unemployed. Some have been terminated before retirement age, in some cases with early buyouts. Some have had to settle for lower paying jobs.

    Not necessarily. Only about have of the people evaucating from Katrina went to Texas, and man would like to return. For many, it is too early for them to be absorbed into the Texas economy. And don't forget, many lost everything they owned.

    The reasons behind drop outs are complex, but poverty and deprivation probably have a significant impact. Segregation, primarily by economic standing and ethnic background, has much to do with it. Those living in poorer neighborhoods/communities, also get lower quality schools and poorer education.
  14. Sep 25, 2005 #13
  15. Sep 25, 2005 #14


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    Aw c'm'on hitssquad, it's precisely the non-dependence of recent unemployment on low g that has made it different, all those out-of-work programmers and middle managers. These are important factors but they are light-years away from the whole story, or even the significant angles.

    The OP should use google to track down the government's definition of unemployed and how that definition has changed over the decades. Check out the Commerce department and Labor department sites.
  16. Sep 25, 2005 #15
    G is an important, but not important, factor?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2005
  17. Sep 26, 2005 #16


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    Oh for heavens' sake, can't you even accept a constellation of factors, that not everyone is out of work because thery're stupid? Even relatively ("We axe the lower half of our g-loaded employees but keep the upper half". Yeah right.)? Besides, individuals of "unemployable" g-levels are mostly long-term unemployed, and thus not counted in the unemployment statistics.
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