By Margarita Nahapetyan
American job seekers who use the Internet are more likely to continue active job searches and less likely to drop out of the labor pool when compared to those who do not have access to the Internet, said the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies earlier this week.
Using Census data from 2007, the study found that unemployed workers who use broadband, whether at home or a public facility, are at least 50 per cent less likely to give up on their job than those who lack such access, while those with dial-up Internet access are about one-third less likely to become unemployed. Discouragement has been cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a major reason for an expected increase in the rate of unemployment this year. As of December, 2009, a large number of American workers have given up looking for a job because of the thought that no jobs are any longer available.
According to the Phoenix Center, the new study provides important insights to policymakers at a time of economic crisis, when unemployment rates are extremely high, with government estimates suggesting the unemployment rate, which now is more than 17 per cent. The U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which carries the responsibility for the government's monthly data on employed and unemployed individuals, estimates that adding "discouraged workers," who had given up looking for work, would increase the current U.S. unemployment rate above the frequently reported 10 per cent level.
By connecting American people to jobs and information about how to better find a work, use of the Internet gives them hope and encourages frustrated unemployed to keep on looking even when job prospects are dim, said Lawrence J. Spiwak, president of the Phoenix Center. "These new findings suggest that broadband connectivity can contribute to economic recovery," Mr. Spiwak added.
The study has demonstrated that there are several reasons why the Internet helps keep the jobless from quitting on their job searches such as the inexpensiveness of using the Internet to search for information about job opportunities and salaries, as well as the emotional and other types of support unemployed individuals receive by means of the Internet. The study found an evidence that the unemployed are more likely to be discouraged when they do not surf the web, and this evidence suggests that support and information obtained from the Internet significantly reduce the chances that they might feel there are no jobs, or no jobs for which they could qualify.
The study also highlights the benefits and importance of community broadband centers to assist those who do not have Internet access at home, Mr. Spiwak said. These new findings suggest that broadband connectivity can contribute to the recovery of the economy, he concluded.