Causesand Effects of Unemployment
MariaLopez is a 23 year old mother of two from Detroit. She recently losther job as an office assistant and separated from her boyfriend offive years with whom they have two girls aged three and two. Beforethey separated with her boyfriend, she was the family’s solebreadwinner while her boyfriend was a stay-at-home dad taking care ofthe couple’s young children. Now as a single mother with no sourceof income, she is desperately in need of income to help her take careof her two children and also keep a roof over their heads. Her rentis in arrears and she claims they are facing starvation. With thisbackground, this brief paper seeks to persuade this stateunemployment agency to reflect on the causes and effects ofunemployment for young single minority mothers such as Maria towarrant special consideration for such cases in future.
Marialost her job as an office assistant when her employer closed shop.She served as the office assistant in a fashion retail outlet indowntown Detroit. She has been working there for the last two yearsuntil the shop was closed down five weeks ago. In her position, shejuggled several roles as a cleaner, messenger, tea girl and a generalhand. Following months of poor business at the shop, the owner washeavily indebted to her suppliers and employees such as Maria. Withsuch debts piling up, the employer filed for bankruptcy and with thatMaria lost her job, salary arrears and benefits. She was leftunemployed, broke and desperate for another job. Attempts to land ajob have been unsuccessful so far.
Theother reason why Maria is unemployed is that she has no trade skills.At only 23 and already a mother of two, Maria has never attendedcollege or received any form of vocational training which greatlyhurts her employability (Helliwell & Huang 2011). She fellpregnant on her final year of high school which forced her to dropout. Given that she is also from a single mother family, she chose tomove in with her boyfriend to avoid burdening her mother who was alsotaking care of her younger siblings. Therefore, Maria has troublefinding work because she has no qualifications on paper. Her onlyclaim is that she is a quick learner and can perform any non skilledjobs available provided she receives basic on-the-job training.Taking care of her children has been preventing her from fullyventuring into searching for a new job. She also harbors ideas ofbeing self employed in any small business such as food vending.
Marialacks the capital needed to start any business. Given that she hasbeen in employment for only two years, her credit rating is very low.She cannot obtain any form of credit from any of the many financialinstitutions to start a business which makes her financiallyvulnerable and locks her out from economic engagement (Helliwell &Huang 2011). Her mother is also not doing well as she is on welfareand thus cannot support her business venture financially. Althoughshe has no experience in running a business, Maria contends that shehas to start somewhere. All she needs is a small amount of capitalnot exceeding $2000. Unfortunately, she has nowhere to get such kindof money and remains unemployed and desperate for any source ofincome.
Maria’sunemployment has incapacitated her ability to meet her basic needsand pay bills. She indicates that her rent is in arrears and shefears she is going to be kicked out into the streets very soon. Thefact that she has no job means that she cannot assure her landlordthat she will pay her in future. In fact, after their separation withboyfriend, the landlord is more than eager to see her leave as sheunderstands that the two contributed equally to the family upkeep.She is also worried that her desperation might drive her to desperatemeasures such as prostitution. She says she has seen fellow youngsingle mothers coping with this trade to pay their bills. She howeverdoes not desire to bring her children in such an environment. Othershave had to deal with depression and other mental illnesses as aresult of unemployment (Kassenböhmer & Haisken-DeNew 2008).
Mariasays that her unemployment is largely to blame for her separationwith her boyfriend. She argues that her boyfriend very supportiveuntil she lost her job. Previously before she got employed, herboyfriend Ener was the breadwinner of the family but also lost hisjob earlier. This incidence has also affected their relationshipuntil she got a job. She had no problem being the breadwinner andEner sitting the children. She says they were both happy with thisarrangement until she lost her job. Ener struggled to borrow fromfriends and family but it was not enough. He could not bear sittingthere in desperation. He believed in the traditional role of a familyman providing for his family (Isaacs & Lovell 2010). With thesituation growing dire by the day, the couple that was lookingforward to get officially married broke up and Ener moved out.
Mariahas lost friends as a result of her situation brought about byunemployment. She says that some of her friends have abandoned her asshe is always borrowing cash from them and never repaying. Her motherunderstands her situation but cannot help. This has strained theirrelationship because her mother has refused to babysit hergranddaughters. Maria is adamant that the only help she needs is ajob that can support her and children. She believes that if she getsa stable income, things will go back to normal. She will have herfriends back and they will reunite with Ener whom she says loves herand the children very much. Additionally, with such desperation, shefaces potential psychological problems (Professor`s Research 2008)
Theissues raised above are real to Maria and many other people in suchsituations. It is clear that young single mothers who are stillinexperienced in life have a much more difficult time dealing withunemployment are more vulnerable. With no skills and basic education,Maria’s prospects in the labor market are not that bright. Theoptions available to her such as prostitution are not fit for her andher children. She needs an alternative solution. As a person, she isdesperate as a result of broken relationships. She needs urgent helpin any way to restore her dignity, her financial well being, herrelationships, and most importantly rescue her promising family. Asit is, the state unemployment agency is her only savior.
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