March 1, 2021

Economix Blog: Unemployed, and Wanting to Be Younger

Just ahead of the monthly jobs report on Friday, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development has released its latest update on the wave of unemployed workers it has been following for two years now.



Dollars to doughnuts.

The most recent report has a number of interesting findings, but particularly striking were the open-ended responses to the question, “What is the one thing you think would help the most in getting you a new job?”

Many of the responses were filled with a sense of hopelessness, or at the very least a sense of resignation. Two of the respondents said they needed “a miracle.”

Perhaps most worrisome, dozens said that the only thing that could help them was “being younger.” Fears of age discrimination have frequently come up in my conversations with unemployed workers as well, given that older workers have the longest spells of joblessness (though there are other possible explanations for this).

Here’s a word cloud of the responses showing how prevalent age-related answers were:

DESCRIPTIONSource: John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Image created using

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