Watching MSNBC News during the Egyptian protests, NBC anchor Brian Williams made a comment that Americans may not understand a society where intelligent, college-educated youth can’t find good jobs. This sentiment was repeated by many other American media pundits. Slate’s Annie Lowery wrote that Egypt’s “youth suffers from crippling unemployment, with tens of thousands of college graduates unable to find good jobs.” CNN even did a story about a 26-year-old unemployed college graduate from Tunisia, who began a fruit and vegetable stand to earn a living.
News reports like these show the disconnect the media elite have with the plight of the unemployed in their own country. In the United States, it’s not just tens of thousands of college-educated people who can’t find full-time work, it’s millions. Out of 140 million in the labor force, 15 million of them are unemployed, and 4.4 million of them have been out of work for more than one year. Many of them, like myself, have college degrees and years of experience, but can’t find full-time work in this market. (See http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/employment/2011-01-23-longterm-unemployed_N.htm ).
At least one-fourth of the unemployed in this country have college degrees. I’ve been looking for nearly two years and can’t find any full-time work in my field, despite 20 years of experience. I’ve applied for more than 700 jobs. And I’m not unique. A Houston man interviewed by USA Today recently has two graduate degrees, one in sociology and another in human services counseling, plus 14 years on the job as a corporate trainer and experience working abroad, but has gotten only a few telephone interviews from the 2,000 applications he sent out since last September. (Read more in the Jan. 25, 2011 article in USA Today entitled “Who Are America’s Jobless?) http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-01-25-1Ajobless25_CV_N.htm?csp=34news
Instead of covering Egyptian youth’s troubles in finding employment, American reporters would serve us better if they covered the unemployment crisis in their own country. They should know the troubles many college-educated Americans have in finding decent work: many of them, after all, are journalists.