Analysis of Unemployment Trends in the United States


The two surveys carried out at different times were crucial in determining and shedding light upon the real situation on the ground concerning the level of unemployment. The problem and its significance in the American society was addressed adversely. The study tried to show the relationship between several communal factors including age, level of education and general behavior and character to employment trends in America, specifically among the standard professionals, for example, engineers. The selected group represented the wider American population and their opinion was taken as the final general public opinion.

Research Problem

The research conducted encountered problem of finding out the unemployment trend in the United States. The aim was to find out what factors contributed to high unemployment rate among a group of professionals, different age groups, and among experienced and inexperienced professionals. It also aimed at finding out the principal factors contributing to and causing unemployment. This includes personal character of the professional in question, industry requirements, dynamics in the market and the position of the overall economy in relation to unemployment and employment levels (Barusch 2011).

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The research further sought to find out the difference and relation between employment/unemployment rates and trends, and the age of professionals. It categorically zeroed down on the advantages and disadvantages touching different age groups during the job search in America.

The researchers had the quest to establish the challenges faced by old engineers in finding an alternative employment or re-employment. This could be whether a person was still employed or when he/she has already left his/her employment position. The research could also be used to establish the hardships or problems faced and their causes.

The research further sought to establish the leading causes of unemployment in this group. It sought to establish the number of engineers who were considered as voluntarily unemployed and their reasons for the same. This was while still trying to find out the driving factor for such trends as from within the job market. It further sought to find out the number and the extent of unemployment as a result of market forces and professional challenges. According to the respondents and researchers, these include such factors as lack of proper qualifications, amiss in personal character among other factors ( Bryman 2007). In a wider perspective, the research established the time that most engineers, as well as any other professionals in the American society, stayed unemployed. According to its results, this period ranges from weeks to years depending on the age, qualification, technological knowhow, and experience.


The research problem analysis was most significant and vital in finding the facts on the ground concerning unemployment trend in America. The main significance of the completed analysis is that it helped compare the two research outcomes and define the extent of the problem over the one-year period. Thus, the researchers were able to determine whether the problem was growing bigger or reducing over time and the causes of the outcomes. The research further tried to establish the cause of unemployment among the old and the young engineers. The outcome would help in determining the positioning of the facts and their outcomes (Lune 2009). In a more significant and outright manner, the research would help establish the differences between the market dynamics and personal challenges and weaknesses among the professionals. The research further helped defining new trends in the US job market, and thus, creating jobs and opportunities among the young or the jobless old population.

The role of the government in funding projects and educational institutions for training engineers and other professionals in America was also an issue of interest to the researchers. In wide terms, it was evident that the government financing trends and criteria, as well as its policies on such factors as the job industry and market, the level and nature of education, and finally, taxation and wages monitoring programs, had significant effects and outcomes on the whole issue of employment in the United States of America (Tucker 2010). The research also tried to establish the number and age of engineers who could access email and reply to them adequately. This got done to determining the technology endowment amongst several age groups of employees. The findings would help determine the effects and level of technology in the industry, and how it influenced the employment process.

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Literature Review

The report was compiled, analyzed and conclusively presented by Dr. Laura Lannbeing. She retained her post to try and compile the conclusive report on the level and rate of unemployment among the American engineers. She derived her data and information from the two researches carried out on the same issue in the years1995 and 1996. The first report was independent and relative on the ground that it had no reference facts that previously carried out on the ground. The second research was a reciprocation of the first and mainly aimed at determining the continuity of the trends defined in the first one. The two studies were carried out in a span of one year using similar tools and approaches so as to try and regulate any shift of the facts on the ground.

The response rate in the first interview was higher standing at 28% as compared to the 1996 interview whose response rate was 26%. The difference was only 2%, which raised some considerations. The second interview involved 1288 respondents. The respondents received the research kits via email. Only 335 respondents replied to the emails (Davidson & Matusz 2009).). This was due to different reasons, including that some of the respondents did not know how to respond to emails while others were hesitant to participate in the interview. The response was better than in 1998 by almost 14%. Dr. Laura organized the data in four principal sections to help the consumers of the information get the finest details of the same. The sections of the information provided were clearly analyzed and organized in a systematic and categorical manner.

Age and Survey Responses

The research aimed first and foremost to get the relationship between unemployment/employment trends and the age of the engineers. This question was a centre of reference and interest in both interviews carried 1995 and 1996. The question got responses in both cases which prooved similarities and continuity in a trend. The trend achieved from both studies is that the old engineers seemed always to have remarkably little or no chance at all in the modern job market. This can be compared to the young ones, who are almost 100% sure to get employed either at that present moment or at later date upon an opportunity offered. The mean ages of different types of employment trends were complied ( Lune & Koppel 2009). The data shows that the youngest engineer who got reemployed was 48 years old. The next group, which was according to the researchers, voluntarily unemployed, comprised of 49 years old participants. The survey further shows that some groups of engineers in the unemployed category were not professional engineers, but rather volunteers or trainees in the engineering profession. Others got employed as part time engineers. The mean age of this group was 51. Those found to be self-employed were at the age of 54, while the retirees were aged 59. The differences in mean, in this case, lies at about 0.001 which is quite significant according to the researchers.

The researchers also tried to compare the time periods taken for an engineer to be re-employed. The research found that for those permanently employed, it took a considerable time of about 49 weeks, which is quite long, but still the shortest amongst of all groups involved. The time taken by self-employed was 63 weeks, while for those re-employed in non-engineering jobs it was 69 weeks. According to the study, the longest time taken was 90 weeks for the group of self-employed either in engineering or non-engineering jobs. The trend was different among the involuntarily unemployed. They had a time range of up to 137 weeks while the retirees had an average of 175 weeks altogether. The old engineers report high levels of unemployment as compared to the younger ones. Approximately, there is a rise in two weeks for every additional year in age of an engineer (Bryman 2007).

Multivariate Analysis of Age and Survey Responses

The researchers tried to get both correlative and causative factors within the job market. These factors ranged from the nature and type of industry that a certain age group has worked in or where the employment was secured. This includes self-, government-, voluntary or involuntary employment or unemployment. The research tried to find out the role of the government in funding some engineering projects and professionals like those working in the defense or state-run co-operations as to the common relation to those in the private sector, non-engineering careers and the unemployed. The government funding process was an issue whose significance in setting the trend could not be ignored. The issue of experience among engineers irrespective of their age had an immense significance. This extra experience in a recognized area of the profession reduced the time of searching for the job by two to three weeks. This happened even if the engineers in question were of the same age and education background. The education stature appeared to be an extra burden. The study shows that an extra degree added 10 weeks to the job search period (Bryman 2007).

Selected Comparisons to 1995 and 1996 Survey Responses

The differences and similarities between the two types of research outcomes were striking. The situation for the engineers has improved on some parts while worsened in other sectors of the employment. In 1995, 19% of the respondents reported to had been re-employed as compared to 20% in 1996. This shows an improvement by 1%, which is quite low, over the stated of time. In 1995, 13% of the total number of successful respondents was self-employed. This improved significantly in 1996 to about 19%. This shows an increase on the level of creativity and innovation amongst the engineers in the job market. The wider difference observed in experience and age of the engineers seems to be the greatest determining factor for the period of time which an engineer spends unemployed; this may sometimes range from several months to years (Tucker 2010). The issue of the previous nature of the employment opportunity is vital and intensely relevant in determining the time taken before re-employment. Those who have served in the defense sector have a high chance of getting re-employed ranging up to 28%. Those in the private sector showed the lowest results up to 4%.

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Theory and Hypothesis

The research carried out was based on several hypotheses, which had to be proofed so as to be revolutionary for a certain theory. The level of the substance of the hypothesis was vital to allow it to regenerate into a substantial theory that would hold the data. This was achieved through qualitative and quantitative scientific approaches. The hypothesis, thus, put in place before the study was relevant on different platforms and dimensions. The first hypothesis of the completed study was that the issue of age is a crucial determinant in setting the trend in terms of time taken. This is before an ex-employed engineer can be re-employed after they live their initial place of work. The hypothesis was that old engineers face difficulties getting alternative employment opportunities as compared to the young ones (Lune 2009).

This evolved into a theory after the study revealed that the old engineers were facing difficulties in getting second jobs due to different factors such as low technology know-how, competitive market and a large number of degree qualifications, which were a significant cause of unemployment amongst the engineers. The second hypothesis was that the engineers who had served in the defense sector and the government or public utilities stood better chances of getting re-employed in other areas as compared to that in self-employment and the private sector. The hypothesis further stated that the engineers in the government and public sectors were better qualified than those in other sectors. This observation could be related to the fact that the government had enough facilities and funds to allow the individual professionals achieve the right experience and knowledge.

The theory could be termed as substantially satisfied through the research, as the researchers later made a discovery that the government funding of some of the sectors and institutions had a direct impact on the outcome of the quality of engineers in the American society. The final hypothesis was that the level of education materially affected performance and the ability of the engineers. Hypothetically, the effect got termed as the inverse. This means that the higher level of education the lower is the performance. This did not develop into a theory as the study failed to show any comparison between the level of education and performance. It was, thus, decided that this issue was nothing but an assumption (Rubenson 2011).

Research Methods

The research used scientific and qualitative methods. It was based on the set of hypothesis, and data collected was specifically based on the primary sources. The extra data was collected from the secondary sources, especially for the second research.

Data Collected

The data collected in the first research is considered as the primary data. The data was collected from the respondents by the use of questioners. The latter were emailed to the respondents, who were expected to email the feedback.


The questions were emailed to the respondents via common email address. The questions were both open and cross ended characters. They ranged from personal questions bordering on the personal character and attitude of the respondents, and their feelings and view on the same issue. On the other hand, it became necessary that some questions be exact to point to ensure the interviewers provide the required answers. The second interview involved the use of the secondary data mostly achieved through the first study. The second study was a recollection of the facts from the first one. It also involved collecting of primary data from the respondents.


The data analysis process was done in comparison of the two outcomes from the two different and independent studies. The data was received from the same respondents after a given time, allowing the researchers define the actual trend and momentum of facts on the ground. The data collected was scientifically organized in tables, charts and grids before being organized for the final presentation (U S Government 2012).

Research Plan

The research plan was systematic and well organized. The time flame was specific and well spaced to give progress on the real situation. The two researches were carried out within a period of one year. This helped the researchers to follow any changes in the existing trends, either worsening or improvement of the situation. The first research was conducted through email. The respondents were expected to access their email addresses and provide the answers to the questions. The questions were well organized in terms of their time and ideological requirement. The first study being a primary data based research required that the data collecting tips be well tested. This was to ensure they capture the required data. The questions sent to the respondents were unsophisticated and easy to understand. The research was also carried out over a given time to make sure that the all the respondents have enough time to give their feedback. The study was conducted by professionals and academicians well equipped with the knowledge on carrying such kinds of research (Lunn 2007).

The second study was not as intensive as the first one putting into consideration that the researchers had already gathered some primary data from the first interview. The study was carried out a year after the first one and aimed at ascertaining the facts gathered by the first research. The utmost need of this study was to show continuity and give the reference to trends existing in the American job market.

The second study was also carried online by use of emails. The respondents received questions in their respective emails and were given time to think before providing the final feedback. The analysis of the collected data was left to one person, who was known to be qualified. This was done in order to reduce the rate and level of deflection and error. The outcome of the data was presented accordingly to give the final impression. Planning for the studies involved budgeting, drawing of the hypothesis, division of respondents amongst the group members, and finally, presenting the research findings in an organized scientific manner (Henn 2009).


In conclusion, the American job market appears to be full of dynamics and factors that make it polarized and demanding. The contents of the market poses challenges to the groups of employed, unemployed, first employees and those searching for re-employment. Factors such as experience, nature of previous employment, level of education and age appear to be the main factors in the whole system. The role of the government in influencing the factors and the dynamics is also evident. The market portrays a set of trends in the system, which seems to favor only one group of people. The trends have forced the professionals seeking employment in this market to seek alternative ways of getting employed. Thus, the professionals have been forced to refer to other alternative means such as self-employment, part-time employment and others. The professionals can also be said to contribute to the growth and development of several trends depending on their personal characters and attitude towards employment and development of careers. The study carried out involved engineers in the American society as a representation of other groups of professionals.

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