What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Needing a job to get a job

Jennifer Collins Feb 17, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Needing a job to get a job

Jennifer Collins Feb 17, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Well if you’re one of the 14 million unemployed people in this country trying to find a new job, you might have seen ads that say they’ll only take employed people for applications.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports.


JENNIFER COLLINS: Minnesota resident Kevin McColl says job postings often have this message: You need a job to get a job.

KEVIN MCCOLL: I definitely see a lot more of “Must present recent work.”

McColl has been looking for permanent work since he was laid off from Circuit City two years ago.

MCCOLL: It really bums one out.

Hoyt Bleakley teaches economics at the University of Chicago. He says employers have good reason to want workers with jobs.

HOYT BLEAKLEY: Because what the employer is ultimately interested in is how productive that worker is going to be.

And while it may be legal to look at employment status, Chris Owens of the National Employment Law Project says it may also be discriminatory.

CHRIS OWENS: A policy that would exclude unemployed workers is going to fall more harshly on African Americans because their unemployment rate is almost twice that of white workers.

New Jersey, for one, is considering legislation that would stop employers from excluding the jobless — at least in job postings.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.