Reporting statistics is easy. You read a number, you report a number. That is basically all there is to it. There's no interpretation involved, only reporting numbers. However, reporting statistics is not the same as interpreting statistics. What do all those numbers represent? How do they affect people? What is the human cost?
Any person with Internet access can navigate to the U.S. Department of Labor or Bureau of Labor Statistics website and read many types of statistics; unemployment rates, earnings levels, layoffs, jobs created, graphs, tables and many other lists of statistics. For some idea of what it all represents one might read Department of Labor Blogs or reports, or seek out articles on other sites such as Reuters, the Associated Press, MSNBC, or the Huffington Post. Reporters like Arthur Delaney try to help readers understand what the numbers mean with quotes from economists, officials, and average people affected directly by what the statistics represent. Good reporters try to help their readers understand how long term unemployment, for example, affects individual people. It is simply not enough to say a certain number of people have been out of work for longer than six months; it is also important to hear from people in those situations, and to understand their struggle and what their life is like.
Too often those who are not out of work themselves, or who were able to quickly find employment if they lost their job, simply do not understand the difficulties those who are unemployed face. They do not understand the depression, the ridicule, the embarrassment, the worry, the fear, the daily struggle just to keep going... They may even add to the burden of the poor and the unemployed by ridiculing them, or suggesting they are lazy or unmotivated. Many politicians have further added to the burden of those who are struggling by adding drug tests to benefits qualifications, cutting benefits and safety nets of all types, suggesting the unemployed are lazy or 'coddled', and refusing to pass job creation legislation. When the only solution offered by the U.S. Congress is to lower taxes on very wealthy individuals and corporations, and place more of the burden on those already struggling, and to not address job creation, there is clearly a problem with understanding the issues involved as well as the solutions.
Potential employers sometimes add further to the burden job seekers carry. Some employers will not even consider an interview for job seekers who are not already employed, or who have been unemployed for more than a specific length of time, or who have too many jobs within a specific time frame on their resume. Job seekers are often told to 'take anything' when it comes to possible employment, and that temporary positions are a good thing. Unfortunately, to some potential employers, a number of temporary positions make the job seeker look like a 'job hopper', and that is not what an employer wants in a potential employee. In addition, potential employers sometimes will not hire individuals whom they feel are 'overqualified' and may leave for another job when economic conditions improve.
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